Week 3

Week 3

Friday April 10

Sites Visited: Nemea (Panhellenic Sanctuary), Mycenae (Bronze Age citadel)

Where did we stay tonight?: Nafplio

Leaders: Kait Barber and Joe Indvik

Breaking news from the Entertaining Sports of the Peloponnese Network:

Earlier today, in a photo finish of Phelpsian magnitude, Jason Spellmire overcame the competition to become Dartmouth’s first Nemean Games gold medalist!  Despite some flailing footwork at the culmination of the race, he managed to sail to victory on Zeus’ winds before face-planting in the hallowed soil of Nemea (see video).  The joy was evident upon Spellmire’s face as a wreath of celery was awarded to him shortly thereafter.  As there is no second place in Greek athletics, the losers (some of them clad in sandals, jeans, or both) were left to hang their heads in shame.  Our viewers will be happy to hear that the competition was not completely authentic, however:  The Greeks would have run completely naked.  As this may have upset the nearby group of elderly German tourists, clothing was retained.  Our reporters spoke with Spellmire just seconds after his historic victory:

Spellmire:  *Heavy breathing*
ESPN:  You just upset some of the world’s greatest competitors in a come-from-behind, underdog victory.  How do you feel?
Spellmire:  You know, Joe, I feel great.  I feel great.  Everyone ran a great race today.  In the end, it just came down to who wanted it more.
ESPN:  How did it feel to compete on such a hallowed field, where centuries of Greece’s greatest athletes have striven for glory?
Spellmire:  Hollow?!  This track is hollow?  What are you trying to pull?
ESPN:  Nevermind.  What’s that you’re holding?
Spellmire:  What, you mean this 24-karat solid gold donkey trophy?  That’s right, that’s what I’m holdin’.
ESPN:  *blank stare* That’s…uh…that’s plastic, Jason.
Spellmire: Hey, this is my moment and I won’t let you take this away from me!
ESPN:  What was with the face-plant at the end there?
Spellmire:  Face-plant?!  Whachu talkin’ ‘bout?  That was the patented Spellmire Finish Line Dive!
ESPN:  Of course.  So what’s next for you?  Would you be willing to go completely…*ahem*…authentic in your next race?
Spellmire:  I’m not ashamed of anything.  Whatever, I don’t care!  I’m going to Disney World!
ESPN:  Anything you would like to say to your fans?
Spellmire:  This train hasn’t stopped yet!
ESPN:  Thanks for your time.

A full synopsis of the day:
Following an early wake-up this morning, we headed to Nemea in the Peloponnese.  We received an introductory lecture by Stephen Miller, who is widely known as “The Man” when it comes to Nemean studies.  During several decades of work on this site, he has supervised the construction of a museum, begun the restoration of the temple of Zeus, and planted trees to better reflect ancient landscaping.  He even reconstructed an ancient starting block mechanism called the hysplix, a device designed to allow runners beginning on time to pass freely while tripping those who started too soon.  After a tour of the temple currently under restoration, we headed to the ancient running track to stage our own race (more on that later).  In the afternoon we headed over to Mycenae, the legendary palace of Agamemnon. It is a highly fortified hilltop, and all visitors must pass through the Lion’s Gate to enter. The Lion’s Gate is a massive doorway which has been standing and visible for thousands of years. We walked through the remains of the palace down into an ancient cistern, for which some of us had to break out the headlamps.  Not very fashionable, but effective.  After this, we stopped at the museum for a quick look at some artifacts before checking out the nearby tholos tombs. The Treasury of Atreus, the biggest of the tombs, was incredibly large and impressive. It was used by Mycenaean elites. Finally, we completely confused all the other tour groups by climbing atop the tomb and making triangles for a group picture.

Nemea Stadium:

The starting line:

To the victor go the spoils!

Tholos tomb geek-out:

 

Chris ponders the temple to Zeus at Nemea.

Chris ponders the temple to Zeus at Nemea.

Jerry enjoys the sun and sights at the temple of Nemean Zeus.

Jerry enjoys the sun and sights at the temple of Nemean Zeus.

Dr. Miller lectures to the group in the temple.

Dr. Miller lectures to the group in the temple.

Checking out a column in the midst of reconstruction at Nemea.

Checking out a column in the midst of reconstruction at Nemea.

Dr. Miller demonstrates a device used to reconstruct columns of the temple at Nemea.

Dr. Miller demonstrates a device used to reconstruct columns of the temple at Nemea.

Prof. Faro wows Alex with her explanation of the Aidonia treasure in the Nemea museum.

Prof. Faro wows Alex with her explanation of the Aidonia treasure in the Nemea museum.

A Germanic horde thwarts our Nemean games re-enactment.

A Germanic horde thwarts our Nemean games re-enactment.

At long last!  Liberated from the Germanokratia.

At long last! Liberated from the Germanokratia.

The race begins!

The race begins!

The leaders round the turning post.  All for Kleos!

The leaders round the turning post. All for Kleos!

The girls round the turning post.  Kleos!!

The girls round the turning post. Kleos!!

Photo finish!  And Jason takes the Kleos!

Photo finish! And Jason takes the Kleos!

Prof. Faro introduces the group to their new friend, Mycenae.

Prof. Faro introduces the group to their new friend, Mycenae.

Group in front of the Lion Gate at Mycenae.

Group in front of the Lion Gate at Mycenae.

At the bottom of a secret Mycenaean cistern.

At the bottom of a secret Mycenaean cistern.

Assaf says something profound about a model of Mycenae.

Assaf says something profound about a model of Mycenae.

Chris beseiges the postern gate at Mycenae.

Chris beseiges the postern gate at Mycenae.

Entering a tholos tomb.

Entering a tholos tomb.

Emerging from the underworld.

Emerging from the underworld.

2009 Greece FSP, Relieving triangle style.

2009 Greece FSP, Relieving triangle style.

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