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In Greek mythology, Nike was the Greek personification of "victory". Her Roman name was known as Victoria (Gr: Νικη) (see Roman Mythology for more information), which of course translated to "victory". She is also known as the Winged Goddess, due to many depictions of her show her having wings.

She was the daughter of the Titan Pallas and the goddess Styx, and had three other siblings: Cratos ("strength"), Bia ("force"), and Zelus ("zeal").

Features in Mythology

Titanomachy

Once the great Titanomachy broke out, Zeus promised all deities who fight alongside him would be rewarded. He promised that those who fight will be allowed to stay on Olympus and would receive great honour and power. However, he also threatened threaten that those who opposed the battle would lose their power and position on Mount Olympus.

During the Titanomachy, Nike and her siblings were allies of Zeus and fought alongside him. Nike was Zeus's chief charioteer.

After the war, Nike and her siblings were rewarded and became sentinels of Zeus's throne.

Depictions

Nike was not just portrayed having wings, but also sporting a palm branch in her hand (usually right hand), to symbolize peace. She sometimes also carried a wreath, this she used to crown the victor in both battles and games.

Nike is often shown with plenty of accessories to help crown or announce the victor. In some depictions of Nike she is shown carrying an oinochoe (cup) or a phiale (bowl) from which the victor drinks.

Nike is also seen sporting a shield, which she uses to inscribe the victor's name on.

Some times, although very rarely, Nike is seen with a thymiaterion (incense burner).

Most of her statues include the lyre of Apollo or a kithara, this she uses to celebrate the victory that was won, by either singing or dancing.

Usually Nike is depicted either with Zeus, with Athena or alone. When she is shown with Athena, Nike is wingless, but with the other two, she has her wings. This is because without her wings, she cannot fly away from Athens.

In Modern Culture

References

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