Slab fragment from the south side of the parapet constructed around the Temple of Athena Nike. It was found in 1910 in the Roman Agora of Athens and represents part of a Nike, from her abdomen to her ankles.
The Nike turns to the viewer’s right and bents slightly her right leg. She is clad in a fine chiton and himation wrapped around her legs and held between them. The figure demonstrates considerable similarities to the Nike Ακρ. 974 that adorns a trophy and this is the reason that many researchers suggest that our Nike also adorned a trophy.
Some of the technical details suggest that Nike Aκρ. 7304 is a copy made in antiquity, possibly in the 1st cent. BC, when the original slab was replaced by a new one.
The parapet enclosed the three sides of the bastion, on which the temple was built. It consisted of slabs approximately one meter in height whose outer surfaces were decorated with relief scenes visible by those ascending the Acropolis. The holes preserved on the upper surface of these slabs indicate that there was originally a metal railing, which further raised the height of the parapet.
The theme depicted on the parapet is a celebration of the military victories of the Athenians against their enemies, either Persians or other Greeks. The narrative is not continuous; instead it is composed of separate, individual scenes which – with slight variations – recur on each side of the parapet: winged Nikai lead bulls to sacrifice or hold weapons and adorn victory trophies with Greek or Persian armour. Among them sits goddess Athena, resting after victorious battles. The carving of the temple's sculptures was carried out by many different artists under the supervision of Agorakritos. These sculpted figures are highly representative of the end of the 5th cent. BC style called by archaeologists the "Rich Style".
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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