The Akroteria of the Temple of Athena Nike

by Peter Schultz

Hesperia, Volume 70, Issue 1
Page(s): 1-47
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2668486
Year: 2001


Recent examination of the extant akroteria bases of the Temple of Athena Nike (Acropolis 2635, 2638, 4291, and 15958α-β) and of the relevant inscriptions (IG I3 482, IG II2 1425, et al.) has revealed new evidence from which several conclusions can be made regarding the crowning sculpture of this important building. In addition to suggesting the technique by which the akroteria of the Nike temple were gilded, the new evidence demonstrates the size of the akroteria and allows the dominant interpretation of the central akroterion as a Bellerophon/Chimaira group to be rejected. Based on evidence gained from the akroteria bases, three hypothetical restorations of the central roof sculpture are proposed: a tripod, a trophy flanked by Nikai, and a composition based on the other well-known, gilded akroterion of the late 5th century B.C., the Nike erected by Paionios of Mende over the Spartan shield on the east facade of the Temple of Zeus at Olympia.