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nike means "victory" in Greek, and Athena was worshiped in this form, as goddess of wisdom, on the Acropolis in Athens, Greece.
this temple was the earliest Ionic temple on the Acropolis, compensated by its prominent position on a steep bastion at the south west corner of the Acropolis to the right of the entrance.
the Temple of Athena Nike was an expression of Athens' ambition to be the leading Greek city state in the Peloponnese.
the citizens worshipped the goddess in hope of a prosperous outcome in the long war fought on land and sea against the Spartans and their allies.
The Temple sits within the sanctuary of Athena Nike, atop a bastion on the south flank of the great stair to the Athenian Acropolis.
characteristic of the building
stood 11 feet high from the stylobate to the apex of the pediment, it has four columns at the projecting porches at each end which also known as tetrastyle amphiprostyle.
its elongated shape and small scale befit its position on a high narrow substructure.
although jewel-like in detail—including complex, double-faced angle capitals and the first known division of the Ionic architrave into three fasciae—the ratio of the height of the column to its base diameter is low.
the temple was constructed from white pentelic marble, it was built in stages as war-starved funding allowed.
a cult statue of Athena Nike stood inside the small 5 m x 5 m naos and it was describe by an ancient writer that the statue was built by wood holding a helmet in her left hand, and a pomegranate (symbol of fertility) in the right.
the friezes of the building's entablature were decorated on all sides with relief sculpture in the idealized classical style of the 5th century B.C.
the north frieze depicted a battle between Greeks entailing cavalry.
the south frieze 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.
some time after the temple was completed, around 410 B.C a parapet was added around it to prevent people from falling from the steep bastion.
after three separate restorations the small Temple of Athena Nike still stands on the Acropolis, together with the Erechtheum and the Parthenon, a survivor of antiquity.
the main structure, stylobate and columns are largely intact, minus the roof and most of the typanae.
temple of Athena Nike: front view temple of Athena Nike: rear view Nike – goddess of victory
the temple was built over the remains of an earlier sixth century temple to Athena, demolished by the Persians in 480 BC.
the decision to build Athena Nike was an expression of Athens' ambitions to defeat Sparta and become a world power.
constructed from white marble, it was built in stages as wartime funding allowed.
the temple's small size was compensated for in its position, resting on a rocky outcrop, positioned so the Athenian people could worship the goddess of victory in hope of prosperous outcomes in the war's endeavors.
once the temple was completed the Athenians added a protective parapet to express their determination and hope for final victory.
the Temple of Athena Nike stood untouched until it was demolished in 1686 by the Turks, who used the stones to build defenses against the Venetians. It was later completely reassembled.
today, the main structure, stylobate and columns remain largely intact, but the temple is missing a roof and most of the typanae.
references /sources http://www.goddess-athena.org/Museum/Temples/Nike.htm http://www.sacred-destinations.com/greece/athens-temple-of-athena-nike http://atheism.about.com/library/FAQs/religion/blgrk_athens-nike.htm Temple of Athena Nike at Archiplanet Temple of Athena Nike from Wikipedia Architecture of Ancient Greece from Wikipedia Art of Ancient Greece from Wikipedia