by Tim Kavi
This goddess may be referred to as the winged goddess Victory or Nike in the Greek tradition, or as Victoria in Roman legends. She personifies victory, speed and strength and acts as one of the dominant deities of the panthenon. Victory is also commonly shown as the goddess which oversees battle or peaceful competition. She is commonly shown on Greek coins and artwork that often depicts her with her hand outstretched toward the statue of Athena within the Parthenon. She may be shown with a palm branch, torch or sash, and will frequently wear golden sandals.
In most cases she is depicted with wings and as a close companion to Zeus and Athena. Her wings are typically considered to be those of a swan, though some depictions also show her with eagle wings as Victory was known to tend to eagles. In some cases she is shown with a staff, wreath of victory or riding in her chariot. Nike has no spouse or children. She is always depicted as being quite fit, and tends to be noted for her skills as a charioteer, and swiftness when in flight or running. In some cases she is considered to help with courting, love or childbirth.
Nike was born of Styx and the titan Pallas, though some legends refer to her father as Ares, the God of War. She is the sister of Zelus, Bia and Kratos which represent, zeal, force and strength respectively. Legend has it that Styx brought Nike to Zeus when Zeus was calling for allies to fight in the Titan War, in spite of the fact that Nike was in fact half Titan. She is most commonly depicted as participating in the battle of Titanomachy.
During this battle Victory flew across the battlefields, rewarding any responsible for victory with fame and glory. This is also considered to be her weakness as Nike is rather inconsistent about awarding victory to those who worship her. She was appointed to be the charioteer with her siblings acting as sentinels by the throne of the gods. Aside from such legends, Victory does not have much mythology to call her own.
Sites of Worship and Statues
One of the most well-known statues of Nike was located on the island of Aegean in Greece. This statue is known as Nike of Samothrace, which is now held in the Louvre in Paris. She is also shown many times in the Acropolis in Athens. While the Parthenon in this area is dedicated to Athena who provides skill and wisdom during war, there are many references to Nike here as these goddesses are considered to be close friends. Nike is considered to preside over the temple of the acropolis in Megara.
Victory’s Role Today
Victory or Nike is often depicted on logos and awards including Nike, Inc., the Victory Metal from World War II and the Rolls-Royce logo. But perhaps she is most important to women. She represents a strong female character that ever faithful to her friends, and was both capable of standing alongside her counterparts and rewarding their actions which she finds favorable.