The seventh modern Nemead has come to its conclusion and we cannot thank the organizers, the participants, the volunteers, and the attendees enough for their hard work and energy. The 2022 Nemean Games were a truly special occasion. The Games were scheduled to have taken place in June of 2020, but the global pandemic caused their postponement for two full years. The eighth modern Nemead, then, instead of taking place four years from now, will maintain the canonical panhellenic game schedule and take place two years from now – in June 2024. The pandemic, among other difficulties, caused most of us to undergo intense isolation since large gatherings of any kind were prohibited throughout the country and all countries had imposed serious travel restrictions. The long-awaited retraction of those restrictions added an extra layer of joy and relief to the festivities. For many of us, this was our first opportunity in over two years to come together as a community. The post-pandemic euphoria was only one reason these games were special, however. Founder and previous director of the Nemea Center for Classical Archaeology and the Society for the Revival of the Nemean Games, Dr. Stephen G. Miller, passed away in August of 2021. Dr. Miller directed excavation and scientific work at the archaeological site of Nemea for more than thirty years. His contributions to the ancient and modern town have made him a much beloved figure locally, nationally, and internationally. The 2022 Nemean Games were held in his honor and his memory was revived by every speaker and every participant – on the track and off. From the President of the Society for the Revival of the Nemean Games, Mr. Spyros Kyriakos, to the Minister of Culture & Sports, Lina Mendoni, to current director of the Nemea Center, Dr. Kim Shelton, and even to the Mayors of Nemea and Argos, each speaker shared their fond memories of Dr. Miller and lauded his commitment to the ancient history of the valley and his dedication to its modern inhabitants.
The opening ceremony took place on Friday, June 24th, in the evening on the very foundations of the Temple of Zeus and included the official trumpet sound heralding the commencement of the festivities, a choral performance, several welcoming speeches, and the lighting of the flame and torches. The torch was carried to the ancient stadium and received there by athletes, musicians, and officials. On Saturday, June 25th men, women, and children took part in the races surrounded by judges, heralds, slaves, hoplites, and musicians dressed in reproductions of ancient dress. A closing ceremony in the evening saw the victors crowned in wild celery, a beautiful performance on a harp and accompanied by an interpretation of ancient Greek verse, and general merriment. On Sunday, the Games came to a final close with theatrical presentations and the addition of a pankration event in the stadium.
We encourage you to visit the Society for the Revival of the Nemean Games’ website for full details and programming and invite you to follow us on social media for fun photos and recaps of the weekend’s events. We cannot wait for Nemea 2024!