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The importance of Isthmia can be deduced from the fact that one of the four great Panhellenic festivals - the Isthmian Games - was held there. According to c1 tradition, the Games were instituted by Sisyphus, but there is also version of the myth which attributes their beginning to Theseus, who wished to honour Poseidon with this way. The Games became an important event in the life of the Greeks after the time of the Cypselids.

The Isthmian Games took place every two years, and while they were going on the 'Isthmian libations' - that is,   period of truce for 11 the cities taking part -they were applied. The Games were modeled on the contests at Olympia and included events such as foot racing, jumping, throwing the javelin, the pentathlon, the pancration, horseracing and chariot races. After the fifth century, contests in music and recitation were added, together with painting competition. The winners were awarded chaplets of pine.  


Until the middle of the second century BC, the Isthmian Games were under the control of Corinth and they were renowned throughout the known world. But Corinth was sacked by the Romans in 146 BC, and Sikyon took over as organizer of the Games. It was not until 46 BC that Corinth was in a position to host them once more. Museum with interesting finds from Isthmia and the surrounding area, stands inside the archaeological site, in our days.