Fragmentarily preserved corner block h from the frieze of the Temple of Athena Nike. It is decorated in relief on its west and north sides. On its north side the pursuit of the mythical king Eurystheas is completed with the scene of his capture by the Athenians. The large vessel on the viewer’s left may denote a fountain, perhaps the Makaria Fountain, at Trikorynthos in Marathon, where the head of the decapitated Eurystheas was buried. On the slab’s right edge a man, whose chiton or chlamys fringe and legs from the height of his thighs are preserved, turns to the left.
According to the majority of researchers the north frieze of the Temple of Athena Nike features a mythological scene, the war that Eurystheas declared against Athens when the city refused to turn over to him Herakles’ children. The battle ended with the Athenians’ triumph and its depiction signified at the time the recent victories of Athens against the Spartans, Eurystheas’ descendants, during the Peloponnesian war. Some other experts attribute to the scene historical dimensions and interpret it as the battle of Plataea and the slaughter of Masistio, the Persian cavalry leader, in particular.
The frieze consists of fourteen blocks overall that depict different scenes on each of its sides. Today nine of these blocks are in the Acropolis Museum, one has been lost and four of them are in the British Museum in London after they were forcibly removed by Thomas Bruce, lord of Elgin, in the beginning of the 19th cent.
In 1687 the temple and the parapet of Athena Nike were dismantled by the Ottomans and the material was used for the reinforcement of a gun emplacement and the fortification of the west side of the Acropolis against the attacks by the Venetians under the command of the general Francesco Morosini. Between 1835 and 1836 the gun emplacement was demolished and the Temple of Athena Nike was restored for the first time under the supervision of Ludwig Ross, the administrator of antiquities at the time. A second reconstruction was carried out in 1940, while a third was completed in 2010.
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