From Wonders and Marvels: Ancient Puppy Chow: Dog Food in Classical Greece.
Chasing game (rabbits, deer, bear, boar) for food and sport was extremely popular in classical antiquity, and dog owners took good care of their hunting companions. Ancient hunting manuals by two Greek historians, Xenophon (b. 430 BC) and Arrian (AD 86) preserve lively practical advice on raising hounds.
So, if you lived in Athens at the time of Socrates and owned a Laconian hunting hound like those depicted on Greek vases, what would you feed them? Ordinary pups get barley bread softened with cow’s milk or whey. But more valuable puppies eat their bread soaked in sheep or goat milk. You might add a little blood from the animal you expect your puppy to hunt. At dinner with your family, you scoop soft chunks of bread from the center of a loaf to wipe grease from your fingers—and toss them to your dog, supplemented with bones and other table scraps, perhaps even a basin of meat broth. After a sacrifice or banquet, you make a special treat: a lump of ox liver dredged in barley meal and roasted in the coals. Naturally, as a matter of professional courtesy, you share any rabbits, stags, or boars with your faithful hunting partners. [continue]
Ah, now this sounds refreshing. The Nemean Games are held at an ancient athletic stadium in Greece; anybody can compete. And where else can you sprint on a fourth-century clay track?
Here’s some background from The Society for the Revival of the Nemean Games:
It was at Nemea that the ancient Greeks celebrated athletic and religious festivals that were part of the cycle of games at Delphi, Isthmia, and (best known today) Olympia. It was at one of these four sites that, for a brief period each year, wars and hostilities were suspended by a sacred truce, and all Greeks gathered in recognition of their common humanity. This impulse toward peace – albeit limited to a few days each year — was the first in the history of mankind on an organized, regular, and international scale. Thus, the festivals at Nemea, Olympia, Delphi, and Isthmia are the direct ancestors of today’s United Nations and Olympic movement. The ancient stadium discovered at Nemea is, therefore, an important monument in the history of such institutions.
And you’ve gotta like the attitude of the whole thing, too:
The Society for the Revival of the Nemean Games believes that there is scope for the average person to participate in such an international athletic festival where no records will be kept and no medals awarded. Races will be organized by gender and age, and all participants will be rewarded only by feet sore from contact with the same stones and the same soil where ancient feet ran more than 2,000 years ago. [continue]
This article on the University of Berkeley website has a great photo of the judges.