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Temple of Athena Nike (Apteros)

The Temple of Athena Nike is of Ionic order and is located in the Acropolis. It was built to commemorate the military victories of the Athenians.

  1. Modern and Contemporary era (1821 - )

    1835 The first restoration by Ludwig Ross, Christian Hansen and Edward Schaubert began with serious mistakes and omissions.

    1935 100 years later, Nikolaos Balanos restored it from scratch, a fact that led to new discoveries about the history of the temple.

    1997 Beginning of third restoration.

    1998 The frieze was transferred to the museum. Parts of the frieze are in the British Museum.

  2. Ottoman era (1453- 1821)

    It was converted into a powder keg.

  3. Byzantine era (331 AC- 1453)

    In the 5th century AD it was converted into a Christian church.

  4. Roman era (30 BC- 330 AC)

  5. Hellenistic era (322- 31 BC)

  6. Classical era (478-323 BC)

    426 BC Beginning of construction.

    421 BC Completion.

  7. Archaic era (800-479 BC)

  8. Geometric era (-1100- 800 BC)

  9. Prehistory (-1100 BC)

What I can see

The temple of Athena Nike is of Ionic order, made from Pentelic marble. It was built to commemorate the military victories of the Athenians. It is amphiprostyle (i.e. with four columns on the front and four in the back) and is founded on the ruins of the archaic temple of Athena and the Propylaea tower of the Mycenaean era. The frieze is probably a work by Agorakritos, who sculpted the assembly of the gods on its eastern section and the Athenian and Greek battles on the rest of the frieze.

What I can't see

During the Roman years, the temple was named “Apteros Nike” (Wingless Victory) because the statue of the goddess did not have wings. Nike is a deity of the ancient Greeks that ensures the victorious outcome of the battle. She is represented with wings, like an angel, because a city is not always victorious and the goddess can “fly away” at any moment. The goddess is depicted rewarding the winning side with a laurel wreath, hence the words laureate, Nobel laureate and Baccalaureate. The architectural design of Kallikrates was met with admiration as evidenced by copycat buildings scattered around Attica. At the edge of the tower where the temple was founded, there was a marble parapet with a depiction of the Nike’s leading cows to their sacrifice. Very few elements have survived on the pediments. On the western pediment the depiction is probably of the Gigantomachy and on the eastern one of the Amazonomachy. The altar was located on the outside of the temple, in the eastern side. During the Ottoman era, the Turks demolished the temple to build the “Koulas”, a fortification tower at the entrance, in order to push back the Venetians of Morosini.


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Venieri I., (χ.α.), Ναός της Αθηνάς Νίκης, [Temple of Athena Nike] Odysseus, Ministry of Culture,

Last visit 14/8/2013

Kardamitsi- Adami M., (2009-2010), Αθήνα, μεταμορφώσεις του αστικού τοπίου, [Athens, transformations of the urban landscape], Athens: Benaki Museum

Foka Ι., Valavanis P., (1994), Περίπατοι στην Αθήνα και την Αττική, τόποι, θεοί, μνημεία [Strolls in Athens and Attica, places, gods, monuments], Kedros

ARC, (d.u.), Αθηνά Νίκη, [Athena Nike], Acropolis Restoration Service,

Last visit 14/8/2013

Camp J., (2001), The Archaeology of Athens, Yale University Press, New Haven and London

Travlos J., (1980), Pictorial Dictionary of Ancient Athens, New York: Hacker Art Book