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The Temple Of Athena Nike Essay

1099 words - 4 pages

The Temple of Athena Nike exemplifies the early Greek belief that the gods, specifically Athena, held divine providence over government and victory in war. It was built as part of the same project as the Parthenon, one of the greatest achievements of Mycenaean Greece. Lasting from 1300-1000 B.C.E, Mycenaean Greece bordered Epirus, Macedonia, Phrace, Phryapa, Mysia, Caria, and Lydia. Encompassing this time span, Ancient Greece lasted from 8000 to 50 B.C.E. The achievements of Athens in this time include the Pythagorean Theorem and the Socratic dialogues. The epic Trojan War was said to have occurred in Mycenaean times as well. So were the Ionic Greeks who built this ancient temple. (Ancient-Greece.org)(about ancient history.com)
In the style of Ancient Greece, the Temple of Athena Nike is filled with symbolism. Its wall is covered in a magnificent fresco, which is still of interest to artists today for its depiction of technique and culture. The central statue of Athena holds a pomegranate, which was an ancient symbol of good luck, righteousness, and bounty. Also, this incredible statue has been known as "wingless Athena," because her wings were taken out so that she wouldn't fly away. Even the contrast between the temple's slender Ionic pillars and their rocky surroundings was a representation of the contrast between Athena's gender and her violent domain. Such is the symbolism of the Temple of Athena Nike. (thinkquest.org)(Reidel, Brown.edu)
Architecture also held a strong connection to government and warfare. The Temple of Athena Nike was chiefly built and used during wartime as a base. Hence, the afore-mentioned statue was considered a good-luck charm. Athena was often presented with sacrifices for wisdom and ability in war, and she was considered an intelligent warrior and authority in government. Athenian admiration of her was remarkably similar to the respect shown to Theodorus Kolokotronis, a fighter in the recent Greek war of independence from
Ottoman rule. His statue adorns Kolokotroni Square. In front of Old Parliament, this equestrian statue's location symbolizes his celebration atop a hill. Another similarity of these two structures is their open air feel, which reflects the motives of Ancient Greek democracy, as is shown in its open meetings where freedom of speech was upheld. Such are the Temple of Athena Nike's connections with government and warfare.
(Calvin, Calvin.edu)(Watterson, 25)
The Temple of Athena Nike was built where it is for various strategic and religious reasons. Pericles rebuilt it as part of an effort to increase morale and renew culture during wartime. It was built over a previous temple to Athena, which was used for similar things. Utilized continuously by Bronze Age Greeks, the temple also served as a military base. References to Nike, the goddess of victory, also strengthened the luck associated with this structure and, therefore, its appeal as a fort. It also was arranged to face an altar...

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