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Temple of Athena Nike
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Temple of Athena Nike
The Republic of Greece is located on the southern part of Europe. This country is known for being the home of one of the first civilizations in the world. Ancient Greece is noted for their art and architecture as well as their religion and mythology. Religion played a big role in the lives of the greeks, so it is not surprising that the most beautiful and big buildings in this country are temples dedicated to the gods. Their architectural style has influenced the creation of other masterpieces around the world. Greek architecture uses many elements from de Doric, Ionic and Corinthian ancient style.
The Doric style is rather sturdy and its top (the capital), is plain. This style was used in mainland Greece and the colonies in southern Italy and Sicily.
The Ionic style is thinner and more elegant. Its capital is decorated with a scroll-like design (a volute). This style was found in eastern Greece and the islands.
The Corinthian style is rarely used in the Greek world, but it's often seen on Roman temples. Its capital is very elaborate and decorated with acanthus leaves.
One of the most known monuments in Greece is the Temple of Athena Nike located in the Acropolis in the city of Athene. Earlier in history, the temple was a place of worship for deities associated with wars, perhaps Bronze Age "Nike" gods and godesses, which in time it fused with the worship of Athena Nike (Athena Victory). This is an Ionic style temple is made up of Pentelic marble is about 23 feet high, 27 feet long, 18 feet wide and 13 feet column height.
The inner sanctum walls are unadorned except for the antae. It originally housed the statue of de godess but it was burned during the Persian occupation.
The temple of Athena Nike was begun in 427 B.C and it was completed three years later, however its builders continued working on it until 410 B.C. Later on, in 480 B.C, the Persians sacked the Acropolis and left the temple in ruins. The rebuilding project started in 449 B.C under the direction of architect Kallikrates. The Nike temple was also a victim of the occupation of the Ottomans and the Turks, in 1686. It was reconstructed, for the second time in 1834 after Greece's emancipation. In 1998 it was dismantled in order to replace the crumbling floor and some fragments of its frieze were moved to the Acropolis Museum to prevent it from being worm away by environmental factors.
The north frieze exposes a battle between Greeks imposed cavalry. The south freize showed the decisive victory over the Persians at the battle of Plataea. The east frieze showed an assembly of the gods Athena, Zeus and Poseidon, rendering Athenian religious beliefs and reverence for the gods bound up in the social and political climate of 5th Century Athens.
Nike Temple's frieze.
The decision to build Athena Nike was an expression of Athens' ambitions to defeat Sparta and become a world power. In the cella of the temple is a wooden statue of the wingless godess, who was holding a helmet on her left hand and a promegranate in her right hand. It is believed that most of the Atheneans had taken away the wings off the godess because the hoped that she would remain there after their first victory against Sparta.
Today, the main structure, stylobate and columns remain largely intact, but the temple is missing a roof and most of the typanae. It is currently undergoing a major restoration project, that involves extensive dismantling, the treating of each stone individually and reassemblance of the building materials for cleaning.
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