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Larch Music Ltd.

Symphony No. 1 - The Hellenic (Mvt. 4. Athena Promachos) - Symphonic Wind Band - LM886

Symphony No. 1 - The Hellenic (Mvt. 4. Athena Promachos) - Symphonic Wind Band - LM886

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COMPOSER : Nick Elwood


No. 4

Athena Promachos

Sailing from the direction of Sounion in Attica, the first glimpse of Athens was provided by the tip of the spear held aloft by Athena Promachos. She stood on the Acropolis between the Propylaea and the Erechtheion. Cast in bronze by the famous Phidias, she was some 9.1 meters high and gilded in golden armour and helmet.

One needs to imagine the elation the sight of Athenas’ spear, and the helmet crest aroused for crews sailing home from far away places such as the Black Sea or Egypt. Pausanias tells us the spear tip and helmet crest dazzled in the sunlight.

Such a sight must have raised a cheer.

 Erected around 456 BC, she may have commemorated the Battle of Marathon (490 BC). Athena Promachos faces the island of Salamis where the city took refuge during the Persian invasion.

The Parthenon housed another statue of Athena, namely Athena Parthenos (‘the pure’). She was fashioned from ivory and was once again the work of Phidias. In her guise as Athena Promachos (‘fighting in the front line’.), she was the defender of the City and its main deity. Standing sentinel over the City for a thousand years, she was taken down sometime after 465 AD and transported to Constantinople as a trophy.

She stood in the Oval Forum in Constantinople, the capital of thenEastern Roman Empire until 1203 when a drunken mob destroyed her.


10m : 45s approx.


The Hellenic began in 1980 while I was a student at the Royal Military School of Music, Kneller Hall. I went back to the original score in 2018 and developed the work into a large scale composition. My inspiration derived from my interest in classical history and having completed a classics degree in 2015, my enthusiasm was fired.


The Hellenic comprises four movements each depicting an aspect or event crucial to the Athenian polis in the 4th century  BC. 

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