Temple of Athena Nike

Sanctuary of Nike

Temple of Athena Nike

The veneration of Nike, goddess of victory, said to be daughter of Styx and Pallas, had almost cultic dimensions, and concentrated on the Acropolis. The goddess' symbols beside her are usually a flower, a sash, often a jar to burn incense, sometimes a kithara (chord instrument). Actually, the construction of this sanctuary was already planned before constructing the Parthenon; but its realisation took place only in the 4th century b.C., and conditioned an extension of the fortress. There are two niches on the west side, which could have served cultic purposes.

Nike's temple has already been restaured three times, the last time took place in the year 2000, carefully applying new marble for correction. This happened after an inventory of the damages, under the direction of the architect Dimosthenis Ziro. Earlier restaurations had been realized in 1835 by Ludwig Ross, being administrator of antiquities, and two other architects, Schaubert and Hansen. Parts of the construction material had been used for purposes other than intended, and used to fortify the Beulé-Gate; this was corrected by Schaubert, Ross und Hansen. Later on a rectification took place. After the first reconstruction, parts of the der balustrade were stored inside the building. Between 1939 and 1940, restauration work was retaken by Nikos Balanos, later on by Anastassios Orlandos. They discovered massive material damages.

Masterpieces of Athena Nike's Sanctuary are the sculpture frieze and the balustrades with the victory goddesses. The Cella was home to a cultic representation of Athena without wings, in contrast to the usual images where the goddess has wings. The idea behind Athena without wings was that the goddess would not be able to leave Athens.




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