Panhellenic Games In Greek Culture

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The Olympic Games, Pythian Games, Isthmian Games, and the Nemean Games, known collectively as the Panhellenic Games served as annual hubs for Greek culture. This made the Stephantic Games a unique phenomenon in Ancient Greece as they brought together the various and often warring city-states of Greece into a collaborative effort with one another.
The religious nature of these events produced a collection of sacred truces which forbid conflict amongst the city-states within the period of a Panhellenic Games (Miller, 2004, pg. 87-112). For example, the Olympic Games, truce ekecheiria lasted for a time period of between one to three months (Miller, 2004, pg. 87-95). This truce was intended to allow athletes from various city-states to journey
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As stated before the sacred truces enacted to protect athletes and spectators was broken many times over the course of the games’ history. An excellent example would be the continuous conflicts between the Spartans/Lakedaimonians and the Eleans which famously resulted in the Spartans being denied the ability to participate in the 420 Games (Miller, 2004, pg. 220-221). The most famous was when the Spartans were prohibited from competing in an Olympic Games for their refusal to pay the Eleans’ fine (Miller, 2004, pg. 220-221). Additionally, during the Peloponnesian War which pitted the two main powers of the Greek city-states Athens and Sparta against one another, the Eleans would take the side of the Athenians becoming their allies (Miller, 2004, pg.…show more content…
One such commemoration was the Spartans’ dedication of a shield on top of the temple at Olympia, to boast of Athens defeat at the Battle of Tanagra (Miller, 2004, pg.222-223). At Delphi the Athenians dedicated a stoa from a battle against Sparta and their allies in 429 (Miller, 2004, pg.222-223).
The Isthmia games of 390 were particularly noteworthy in describing the internal conflict of the Greek World (Miller, 2004, pg.221). As the tensions between the Argives and Corinthians resulted in the destruction of the Temple of Poseidon by a fire (Miller, 2004, pg. 221-222). Additionally, the games, were used by King Phillip II of Macedon (the father of Alexander the Great), featured on Objects 8 and 9, to gain power, as he used his influence as a council member of the Amphiktyonic Council to establish his own league of allies that helped Phillip and Macedon become military powerhouses with the Ancient Greek World (Miller, 2004, pg.223-225).
These example show how while the Panhellenic Games did create some unintentional unity amongst the Greeks, the unity was in no way finite or stable as many athletes and spectators retained their sense of city-state patriotism and superiority. The Panhellenic Games even seems to have encouraged these de-unifying
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