Nike of Callimachus

The Nike of Callimachus (Greek: Nίκη του Καλλιμάχου Níki tou Kallimákhou) also known as The Dedication of Callimachus, is a statue that the Athenians created in honor of Callimachus.

Nike of Callimachus
Nίκη του Καλλιμάχου
Height468 centimetres (184 in)
CreatedArchaic Athens, 490 BC
DiscoveredAcropolis of Athens
Present locationAcropolis Museum, Athens


Callimachus was the Athenian polemarch at the Battle of Marathon at 490 BC. He had the last vote and voted in favour of a battle, when the ten strategoi were split evenly on the matter.

He was killed at the battle and the Athenians erected the statue for him.[1]

Part of the inscribed column before the restoration when it was on display at the Epigraphical Museum

The statue was erected in a prominent spot near the northwest corner of the Parthenon (not the Parthenon that we can see today, but the previous temple which was destroyed by the Persians) on the Acropolis of Athens. The statue was severely damaged by the Persians a decade later (480 BC) when they conquered Athens. They burned and destroyed the city and its monuments, including the Nike of Callimachus (Perserschutt).


The statue depicts Nike (Victory), in the form of a draped woman with wings[2][3] running right, on top of an inscribed Ionic column. Its height is 4.68 meters and was made of Parian[4] or Pentelic marble. Some parts of the statue such as the head, the hands and more were never recovered after the damage.

The neck of the Nike has nine holes for metal jewelry, which has been lost. She probably held a caduceus in her hand.


The text of the inscription on the monument was carved in two lines.[5] The monument is a rare example of a preserved dedicatory epigram, with its statue and base, from the late archaic period.

Only 35% of the original text is visible due to the destruction.[6] The text on the column is below (the brackets indicate text which is missing because of the destruction and has been restored by Catharine Keesling):[7]

line 1
[Καλλιμάχος μ' ἀν]έθεκεν Ἀφιδναῖο[ς] τ'Αθεναίαι (Hexameter 1)
ἀν[γελον ἀθ]ανάτον hοἰ Ὀ[λύνπια δόματα] ἔχοσιν (Hexameter 2)
[Kallimachos] of Aphidna [de]dicated [me] to Athena,
me[ssenger of the imm]ortals who have [homes on] O[lympus]
line 2
[Καλλιμάχος πολέ]μαρχος Ἀθεναίον τὸν ἀγο̑να (Hexameter 3)
τὸν Μα[ραθο̑νι πρὸ H]ελένον, ο[. . .] (Hexameter 4)
παισὶν Ἀθεναίον μν[εμα . . .] (Hexameter 5)
[Kallimachos the pole]march of the Athenians, who fought the battle
at Ma[rathon for the H]ellenes (Greeks), [. . .]
by/for the children of the Athenians, a memorial [. . .]


Reconstitution of the Nike of Callimachus in the Acropolis Museum

On October 26, 2010 after it was restored, it was displayed to the public for the first time as a complete monument at the Acropolis Museum. The statue has been affixed to a metal column that holds the various parts in place and is built so that additional fragments can be attached if they are found. According to the curator of the new Acropolis Museum, the monument has been reconstructed in a modern fashion using only the original shards in their correct positions, so that a visitor might be able to see the authentic version.

The unveiling of the Nike monument was among a series of events scheduled by the culture and tourism ministry of Greece to celebrate the 2,500th anniversary of the Battle of Marathon. During the unveiling of the statue the Greek minister stressed:

“Today we are not unveiling the monument of just another heroic general but a monument to a democratic process that changed the course of history."[8]

He also reminded the audience of the words that Miltiades said to Callimachus just before the polemarch cast his vote:

“Everything now rests on you.”[8]


General iconographical type of the reconstituted Nike of Callimachus, here seen on the contemporary coinage of Artemisia of Caria.

The statue is on display in the Archaic Monuments’ section of the Acropolis Museum. In the Museum in front of the original statue there is also a small copy showing how the statue looked when it was whole and undamaged.[4][9]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Herodotus Book 6: Erato, 114 "In this part of the work was slain the polemarch Callimachos after having proved himself a good man,..."
  2. ^ Hornblower, Simon; Spawforth, Antony; Eidinow, Esther (2014). The Oxford Companion to Classical Civilization (Oxford Companions). OUP Oxford. p. 546. ISBN 978-0198706779."She may have two or four wings. The Nike of Archermus (supposedly the first to give Nike wings) and that of Callimachus are repsesentative."
  3. ^ Pantermalis, Dimitris (2012). "Nike of Callimachus" (PDF). Dimitris Pantermalis President of the Acropolis Museum.
  4. ^ a b "Nike Monument Unveiled at Acropolis Museum". 2010.
  5. ^ Keesling, Catharine (2010). "The Callimachus monument on the Athenian Acropolis (CEG 256) and Athenian Commemoration of the Persian Wars". In Baumbach, Manuel; Petrovic, Andrej; Petrovic, Ivana (eds.). Archaic and Classical Greek Epigram. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. p. 101. ISBN 9780521118057.
  6. ^ "Η Νίκη του Καλλίμαχου θα ξαναπετάξει στο Μουσείο της Ακρόπολης". eleftherotypia. 2010.
  7. ^ Keesling, Catharine (2010). "The Callimachus monument on the Athenian Acropolis (CEG 256) and Athenian Commemoration of the Persian Wars". In Baumbach, Manuel; Petrovic, Andrej; Petrovic, Ivana (eds.). Archaic and Classical Greek Epigram. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. p. 109. ISBN 9780521118057.
  8. ^ a b "Η Νίκη του Καλλιμάχου αποκαλύπτεται 25 αιώνες μετά" (in Greek). Kathimerini. 2010.
  9. ^ "NEWSLETTER NOVEMBER 2010" (PDF). Det Danske Instituti Athens.