Around 410 BC
Height: 1.06 m
Length: 0.52 m
Marble from Penteli
First Floor, West
Right part of a slab that has been regarded as belonging to the south side of the parapet of the Temple of Athena Nike. It was found in 1835 near the temple.
It depicts a winged Nike who adjusts or unbinds her sandal in order to walk barefoot in the sacred area of the temple of Athena, a gesture that gave her the conventional name the "Sandalbinder". Her transparent chiton, which clings to her body as if wet, slips down, leaving her right shoulder bare. The fabric of her himation clings to her lower body, draping down in large folds, while her face, no longer preserved, is framed by her wings.
Some researchers find similarities between this depiction of the Nike and those of Aphrodite and thus regard her presence on the south side of the parapet as an allusion to the Sanctuary of Aphrodite Pandemos, situated right below the temple of Athena Nike.
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 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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