Temple Athena Nike (Athens)

 

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The Temple of Athena Nike still stands as the entrance to the southwest side of the Acropolis in Athens. It is one of the most well known temples of the goddess Athena in all of Greece.

 

Who would you meet there?

Members of the cult of Athena Nike (later known as Athena Aptera because this Nike statue did not have wings) and priestesses of the goddess. You would see them if you were there to celebrate the festival held at the temple to worship Athena, led by the priestesses. According to some accounts this festival included leading an ox into the center of the temple and slaughtering it at the feet of a wooden statue of Athena Nike. The statue is no longer there, but it is said that she held a helmet and a pomegranate to symbolize war and fertility.

 

How to get there:

The temple is located on the same plateau as the Acropolis, which is located within the city of Athens. Since Athens was such a large city, it would have been easy to find routes by land or sea leading to the temple.

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Why visit the Temple Athena Nike?

Travelers who came into Athens would have gone to the temple to see the statue and worship Athena. Others may have come for the festival that was held in her honor and partake in religious rituals.

 

Trivia:

It was built between 427 and 424 BCE.

After it’s destruction in 1678, it was reconstructed with nearly all of the original stones in 1835.

Castings of some of the sides of the frieze that are no longer visible are now in the Acropolis museum.

 

Sources:

Athens, Temple of Nike Athena, http://www.perseus.tufts.edu

Temple of Athena Nike, http://www.ancient-greece.org

Pausanias “Guide to Greece” 1.22

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