The History of Nemea

See information and images about the history of Nemea and its area







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Nemea is the largest Protective Designation of Origin (P.D.O.) wine area of Greece, spanning almost 30,000 square kilometers of vineyards at an altitude between 320 and 650 meters. With more than 3.500 years of wine production, Nemea is synonymous with hifh quality wines and wine culture. The special region’s terroir  is characterized by a main valley surrounded by mountains and weather conditions ranging from mild cold winters with enough rainfalls, to the warm and relatively dry summer periods, but with several differences between short distances within the PDO Nemea zone. Observing the diversity of microclimate can be discover the different organoleptic result of the wines between vineyard sites, with most impressive of all the uniqueness and importance of each vintage to the character of the legendary wine of Nemea.


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The Fleiountas (formerly Flious or Phleious) was an ancient city-state of Peloponnese, built in Fliasio field, 2 km northwest of today Nemea and on the banks of river Assopos. It was Ionian city and when the Dorians invaded many residents fled to Samos and Asia Minor. Today (from excavations that lasted from 1924 to 1970) and found ruins of the city wall and the theater as the chamber of deputies. Also surviving gold coins of the 5th century, with the inscription Fleiasion or only the letter ‘F’, often within ivy wreath, sacred plant of Dionysus. In some currencies are reflected grapes, which are irrefutable evidence that his wealth was Fleiounta in grapevine.


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In classical antiquity, the Fliasia Sikyonia bordered on the north Cleonae the east, south Argive and Arcadia to the west. So the area of the country Phlius estimated at about 180 squares kilometers. The browser of the 2nd century. AC. Pausanias describes that upon delivery, the first founder was Aras is why the city was named Arad. His children renamed it Araithyrea while Phleious, son of Dionysus gave the final name. Herodotus how Fliasioi took part in the Persian wars participating with 200 soldiers at Thermopylae and Plataea 1,000.

For much of the archaic and classical period (6th-4th century BC.) The Fliasioi were members of the Peloponnesian League and supported the Spartans. This support has brought them into conflict with Argos but with Sikyonians. Indeed, in 336 BC when the Theban Epaminondas invaded for the third time in the Peloponnese, the Fliasioi found simultaneously faced with the Argives and their Sikyonians which was much stronger than the Fliasious. Still did not betray their allies the Spartans, winning the thathmasmo Xenophon, who extols to the Greek (7.2.1.): “When the big cities make a brilliant feat, the cite all authors. But I believe that when a city has the history of many accomplishments, although it is small, then it is worth even more to say.“


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The Nemean Lion

Another point of Global reach is the mythical lion of Nemea which were lived in the area and terrorized residents. But Hercules killed the lion with his bare hands and took his skin, the famous lion skin, which he wore as an armor. According to Greek mythology, the gods took the body of the lion and carried to the sky where it formed the constellation of Leo.


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Nemean Games

Initially, the Nemean Games were created in honor of Opheltes, a young child who died from snakebite on wild celery, while his nanny Ipsipili lead the Seven Against Thebes in a water source while in route from Argos to Thebes and crossed the valley of Phlius. The expedition of the Argives against Thebes placed according the Parian Chronicle, the 987th year before the mansion Diognitou, ie in the year 1251 BC when reigned in Athens Theseus.

573 BC Nemea joined the circle stefaniton the Panhellenic games and held every two years in succession with the Olympia, Isthmia and Pythia, with which were the most important sporting events of the glorious ancient period. The winners of the Nemean Games were enjoying exceptional values and respect and in the same range of Olympians.

Respect for the sanctity of the Nemean evident even from the plethora of Nemea game winners origin arriving from the current Sardinia to Egypt. Also another presumption of materiality of race is to find thousand coins came from 84 different city-states of that period, which makes it important to commercial activity by local residents during the Games and beyond.


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The Temple of Nemean Zeus

In the area there are breakthroughs ceramics and stone tools reveal that there was a settlement in the Middle Neolithic period (6000p.Ch.). The temple of Zeus is located two hundred meters from the ancient stage. It was originally constructed around 570 BC which consisted of a temple and an altar in front of him and destroyed very violently during the Peloponnesian War around 415 BC Remained in ruins until 330 BC where in the execution of an extensive building program was erected using pre-existing stones. It is thought to be the first temple of antiquity that combines all three architectural styles, which heralds the mixing of styles which characterized the later Hellenistic architecture.

The influence of the Macedonian kings is clear, since the cult statue of Nemean Zeus created by Lysippos, a favorite sculptor of the Grand Alexadrou. Remarkable indeed is the imprint of Alexander the Macedonian currency at the time, who wears the head of the lion of Nemea.

Nowadays, after persistent efforts worthy and experienced archaeologists in recent decades has advanced the restoration of the temple of Nemean Zeus.


Nemea in the Middle Ages and Modern times

The region continues to be inhabited and cultivated lands of the stem, vines and produce the famous wine in the Byzantine period. In the 13th century AD founded the settlement of St. George exactly where is the Nemea today, ie 2 km east of the ancient Fliountas and 2km. Southwest of the ancient Nemea where the races were held and where was the temple of Zeus. The new settlement was over as the center of the Phlius. We refer to the time when the Peloponnese had been conquered by the Franks. The Polyfengos a steep and inaccessible mountain was the center on which was built the medieval fortress.


In play many battles. From one of the Byzantine Despotate of Morea trying to reoccupy their lands by the Franks and the other, the frantic elongation of Ottomans. 1395 AD St George came to the Byzantines for last time and continued to repel the Ottomans who invaded several times killing and plundering the population of the Peloponnese. In 1458, five years after the fall of Constantinople, after the great campaign of the conqueror of Constantinople Mehmed the Peloponnese has been brought to the Ottoman Empire. Corinthia remained in Ottoman hands until 1699 where he became the second Venetian and lose it again in 1715 under the Ottoman rule. After the exapondrismo residents but also epeidimies the population of St. George was in the 18th century about 2 hundred.


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Important Byzantine monuments located in the area such as the Virgin of the Rock still preserved until today and the church of St. George is also the patron of Nemea today.The name of the grape variety “Aghiorghitiko” is the name of the town during those years, a name now called the most notorious versatile red grape variety of modern Greece. During the revolution of 1821 marked the offer of the region exemplifies the chieftain Danopoulos. Sample also is the building that served as a hospital of his heroes Kolokotronis who still preserved today.