In classical antiquity, beginning in 573 B.C., Nemea hosted international athletic competitions like those at Olympia, Delphi, and Isthmia; the games at the four sites constituted the Panhellenic cycle, and the victors were the most famous athletes of antiquity. Nemea was never a city-state but served as a religious and athletic festival center where the Greek world assembled every two years under a flag of truce.
Excavations sponsored by the University of California, Berkeley since 1974 have revealed many details of Nemea's history. These discoveries, together with ancient literary and epigraphic sources, form the basis of a new and sharply defined picture of the Nemean Games.
This first volume in a projected series of nine documents the excavations of the Sacred Square, the Xenon (Guest House), and the Bath. In her chapter on the Sacred Square, Darice Birge gives us a full publication of the Long Altar of Zeus and other monuments, as well as the first recognized remains of a Sacred Grove from antiquity. Lynn Kraynak presents the findings on the Xenon, one of the few ancient hotels to have been recognized and the only one to be fully studied. Finally, Stephen Miller reports on the Nemean Bath, the earliest Greek bath known.
Nemea I presents all of these findings together with associated material—state plans, photographs, and drawings of reconstructed monuments—making this volume important not only to scholars interested in the specific aspects of the excavations, but also to teachers who will make use of the reconstructions.
Darice E. Birge is Associate Professor of Classics at Columbia University. Lynn H. Kraynak is Assistant Professor of Classics at the University of the Pacific. Stephen G. Miller is Professor of Classics at the University of California, Berkeley, and Director of the Nemea Excavations.