This morning we packed up our luggage into the bus and drove west to Nemea. Nemea was a site of one of the four large, important Panhellenic festivals/athletic games. T hese include the famous games at Olympia, the Pythian games at Delphi (na
med for the python Apollo killed setting up the Oracle there), the Isthmian games, and the Nemean games.
Nemea was pretty inactive when the 5-day festival wasn’t being held because it’s kind of in the middle of nowhere. We perused the museum there and Aristotle talked about his passion, roof tiles.
Let me take a moment here to talk about our guide Aristotle. He is incredible. He’s a giant archaeology, Star Wars, Lord of the Rings nerd. He gets so excited when someone takes us behind the rope to excavations (we got to do that again today, more on that later), and he takes notes and pictures and smiles from ear to ear. He explains everything very well and makes corny jokes that I love. He takes his time and usually is the source of my Fun Facts. I ❤ Aristotle. His favorite archaeological subject is roof tiles. Today he saw some and Barnes gave him a 2-minute limit to talk about them. 🙂
Anywho; we got to see an excavation site again! This one was not currently being excavated unlike the one at Corinth, but we did get to talk to a Mizzou alum there and here about what they’ve found.
At the Panhellenic festivals, there was only 1st place. 1st place winners were crowned with a wreath around their head, and each festival had a specific plant for that wreath. No money was given at the festivals, but the athletes’ home polis would reward them handsomely. Athletes became professionalized, competing at different games around Greece as a career, around the 4th and 3rd centuries BC.
Then we went to the temple, and something new and exciting for me was that I’m able now to recognize Doric, Ionic, and Corinthian order architecture. This temple had all the architectural orders incorporated in one. AND YOU COULD TOUCH THE TEMPLE SOOOO YEAH THAT WAS COOL.
Nemea’s stadium has a very well-preserved hysplex. We went to the stadium and ran the 300m race that is the first and most important event in Panhellenic games. It was really cool.
Special fun fact for ya: they had referees. There was a tunnel into the stadium for athletes that had ancient graffiti in it. Pay attention because this is really cool: there is graffiti in that tunnel made by athletes. One says “Acrotutus is handsome” and another one says, basically, “Says you!”
RIGHT?! THAT’S AMAZING. WE SAW SMACK TALK GRAFFITI FROM OVER 2000 YEARS AGO. Mind = blown.
Then the winery–Mom, go get Dad! We went to the Skouras winery in Nemea, which is an area famous for its red wine. The whites, the host said, are supposed to be drunk at 12 degrees Celsius and reds at 18 degrees. Their bottling line does 3000 bottles per hour. Their barrels are replaced every 3 years and all of them cost about $1 million USD. This is one of the largest wineries in Greece.
We drove for 4 hours and now I’m by the pool at Olympia.
1. Hippodromes are very hard to find during excavations because all you have to look for is compacted dirt. So, yeah. Could be really easy or really hard to find, and usually not definitive.
2. They had a type of hotel for athletes in which they stayed not according to their city-state but to their event.
3. The first labor of Heracles occurred here, he killed the lion of Nemea. He’s represented with a lion’s pelt on his head in sculptures.
4. If you wanted to lay a curse on someone or ask for the help of demons, you’d write on a lead tablet, fold it, and put it in a well or a recently dug grave.
5. At Nemea, cypress trees are planted on the site where they were planted 2000 years ago. This is one of the few sites where this occurs.
ALL THE FEELZ ❤
I feel good today! I am trying to remain positive about my weight so I am not going to mention it anymore! SO HA!
I am getting to better know some more people on the trip, which I love. I am really feeling grateful for this opportunity. The landscape, even at a gas station by the road, is incredible. Mountains in the background, this running through my head:
Life is good. I have really liked the sites lately. I like the towns we’ve been to (Heraklion, Nafplio, Rethymno) better than Athens. Olympia is freakin great so far. This hotel is amazing! FURTHERMORE, we get to see Olympia tomorrow and run the track there. Be jealous, my family and friends. 😉
I wish we could eat outside tonight because their tables outside are really gorgeous, but apparently we have to go inside. Not much to complain about here, though. The sun is making the water sparkle and the wind keeps me from sweating (for once). Life is good.
Once again, I am beyond grateful for Barnes giving us this opportunity. I remember him talking about this trip during my Ancient World class and texting my mom saying I found the trip I wanted to do. He is one of the most friendly and caring professors I’ve had. Barnes, thank you very very much for sharing your passions with us and giving us this opportunity. Thank you thank you thank you.