The Isthmian Games ( Greek Ίσθμια Isthmia ) were competitions in ancient Greece , named after the Isthmos of Corinth , where they were held in honor of Poseidon from 580 BC. Were celebrated. They belonged to the Panhellenic Games .
A sacred pine grove encompassed the sanctuary of the Istrian Poseidon and the battlegrounds: the hippodrome for horse races, a stadium for races , an important theater for musical competitions and the Kraneion , a handsome gymnasium .
Its founding is partly attributed to Poseidon, partly to Theseus , and they were maintained with varying degrees of validity until the Roman Empire. Even Sisyphus is called the founder: He is the games his nephew Melikertes have donated, whose corpse had he found on the coast of Corinth and buried after Melikertes by his mother Ino had been killed in a fit of madness and thrown into the sea.
Their celebration recurred every two years ( isthmiad ), in the second and fourth year of an Olympiad , probably in summer and spring. It contained the main components of the big festivals: the gymnical agon (competition), which consisted in particular of running, wrestling and fistfighting, pankration and pentathlon (see also gymnastics ); also the knightly, chariot and horse races, and later also the musical, rhetorical and poetic or also musical lectures.
At the older celebration, the winner's wreath consisted of elderberry , and later, for a long time after the restoration of Corinth, of pine branches . In addition, the palm was handed out, and there were public wreaths and public praise of individual deserving men as well as entire states.
The Isthmic Games are the background of the explanations in the 1st Letter of Paul to the Corinthians 9,24-27 LUT , where the apostle writes about the uncompromising commitment to the Gospel , as well as for Friedrich Schiller's Die Kraniche des Ibykus .