Nike Likes It!

One goddess who was represented quite a bit in art but didn’t feature in a whole lot of myths was Nike, the personification of victory.

According to Hesiod, she was the daughter of the Titan Pallas and the Nymph Styx (who was, of course, associated with the river in Hades). When Zeus and the Olympians went to war against the Titans, Styx supported him and brought her four children to help out. In addition to Nike, these were Kratos (Strength), Bia (Force), and Zelos (Rivalry). Nike herself gained fame as Zeus’s charioteer, although she presumably doesn’t need a chariot when out by herself, as she’s regularly depicted with wings.

She is said to give honor to victors in both war and sporting events, and is sometimes viewed as an aspect of Athena.

The name Nike is probably best known today as the company that sells sneakers made in Asian sweatshops. It’s also the origin of the names Nicholas and Nicole, and the numerous variations on them. The goddess’ Roman counterpart is Victoria, also a popular name in both male and female forms.

Yes, this last statue, known as Nike of Samothrace, doesn’t have a head. It was presumably lost over the centuries.

This entry was posted in Greek Mythology, Mythology, Roman and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Nike Likes It!

  1. vilajunkie says:

    I tried to reconcile the Nike “swoop” as an upside-down, stylized wing. Think that makes sense at all?

  2. Pingback: Kratos and Barrel | VoVatia

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