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Nike, Goddess of Victory in Ancient Greece

Nike is the goddess of victory in Greek Mythology. Homer does

not personify Nike. She is the daughter of the giant Pallas and the river
Styx in Hesiod and she is sent to fight on the side of Zeus against the
Titans. Athens did not appear to have a separate cult for Nike by herself. At first she was inseparably connected and confounded with Pallas Athena, the
dispenser of victory, but she has gradually separated from her. Both Athena
and Zeus can be seen carrying small figures of Nike indicating that she is
an attribute of both of them. Nike with Athena is always wingless while
Nike as a separate goddess is always winged. Nike appears carrying a palm
branch, wreath, or a caduceus of Hermes in works of art. She is also seen
erecting a trophy or recording a victory on a shield. Frequently she
is seen hovering with outspread wings over the victor in a competition. Nike
gradually came to be recognized as a sort of mediator of success between gods
and men not only in war but all sorts of human undertakings.

The name ‘Nike’, ‘Νίκην’ has the same meaning as the Greek word ‘νίκη’ but the derivation of either of these words in unclear. One possiblity is the Indo-European ‘skei-‘, ‘To cut, split,. This would give it the same derivation as the English word ‘nice’. This is consistent with the concept that a victor is cut away from the pack. The family of Nike as described in Hesiod’s Theogony, (line 383) is mostly named with terms that can be derived from Indo-European terms. The following translations are therefore proposed:

  • Στὺξ — Styx — ‘hateful’ from Indo-European ‘steu-‘, ‘To push, stick, knock, beat’ and possibly ‘gwou-‘, ‘ox, bull, cow’
  • Πάλλαντι — Pallas — ‘brandish’ from Indo-European ‘pel-6’, ‘To thrust, strike, drive’ and ‘las-‘, ‘To be eager, wonton, or unruly’
  • Ζῆλον — Zelus — ‘rivalry’– from Indo-European ‘ya’, ‘To be aroused’ and ‘leu’, ‘praise’
  • Νίκην — Nike — ‘victory’ — possible from Indo-European ‘nei-‘, ‘To be excited, to shine’ and ‘kigh-‘, ‘Fast, violent’
  • Cratos — ‘supremacy’ — from Indo-European ‘kreu-2’, ‘To push, strike’ and ‘teue-‘, ‘ To swell’
  • Bia — ‘force’ — from Indo-European ‘bhau-‘, ‘to strike’ and ‘ya-‘, ‘To be aroused

Some concept of victory can be taken from the nature of her family. An oath is a promise to behave in a certain way and is connected to the determination for victory. Force, supremacy, and zeal are also components of victory. This family gives victory a formal and serious quality. Victory is more like a legal settlement of a case than a game played for fun.

Life was early associated with air because the need for air is
so immediate. The birds flew in the air and were often associated with the
spirit of life. Since a winged flight is associated with a victory over
death it was easily associated with victory. Hence victory is associated with
the winged goddess Nike. Nike is an aspect of Athena and is essentially
an Athena with wings.

The migration of birds often provided ancient Greeks with useful calendar information about when to plant and harvest crops. This was the reason birds became associated with the divine. The flights of birds and parts of birds were also used for prophecy and divination. Images of bird goddesses are available from Minoan, Egyptian, and mid-eastern cultures

The goddess NikeNike gives a victory wreath to an athlete champion in the pentathlon. The athlete holds a javelin (ἄκοντα) in his hand.

Nike is shown flying down with a torch and a wreath to bestow victory on an
Athlete. Greek custom shows Nike draped and the athlete nude. Nike’s gown is
semi-transparent as befits a goddess but the image of Nike is not so revealing
as an ancient artist would draw. The ancient artist had no requirement to be
naturalistic but rather preferred an ideal image. Nike is commonly shown with
wings but the wings are shown to emphasize her ability to fly. Actually all the
deities had this ability but wings are not often shown. Greek deities are
shape-shifters and can appear in any guise, winged or not. The athlete may
not even be able to see Nike. She controls this also.

Nike is not a subject of literature while she is a
fairly common art subject. The most famous is the Nike of Samothrace in the
Louvre. Some of the other images are as follows:

Nike’s probable daily chores

When she got up bathing in a mountain spring with a waterfall probably came first.
Dressing came next. Imperishable gowns woven by Athena and washed by Nymphs
at play would be layed out. She had handmaids, Nymphs of local streams and springs, to arrange her hair. She spent her morning studying the possibility of victories by men and women. She had a brunch meal which consisted of ambrosia. This would be devised into delightful shapes and flavors by the Nymphs. After this she would consider the many petitioners in her realm. These would be presented to her by nymphts and other deities in a court while she sat in a chair and the nymphs sat on stools. Her afternoon was spent celebrating the victories of the world. She would flit from victory to victory with her
wreaths and vases in hand. The evening meal was a banquet either in her apartment or in that of another deity. The participants would recline on kline couches with the food on lower tables It would consist of ambrosia in the form of nectar, fruits and nuts. After the meal stories would be told. Often she would eat with some of the other deities. When she retired she would then put on her nightgown. The nymphs would pull her gossamer curtains
around her and she would sink into dreamland on a high bed laid with down pillows.

Interesting aspects in Nike’s life?

The most interesting aspects of Nike’s life were the celebrations
she organized to celebrate the great military victories of the Ancient
Greeks. The most famous was the battle of Salamis because the coalition of
Greek city-states had done the incredible. They had defended their homeland
and their independence from the strongest power in the world. They had
decided to unite in their defense even though the Persians had made generous
promises. They knew they had a big challenge so they went to the Delphic
oracle who had declared that they defend themselves behind walls of wood.
Since Athens was a fortified city with stone walls, this set the people to
thinking. They abandoned their city and left the fighting to the wooden ships
of the Athenian navy. In spite of being greatly outnumbered the Athenians
were victorious and Nike was ecstatic.

When someone prepares an altar for her with a bright flame, she
will fly down and pour a libation upon it. This is a sign of an upcoming
victory. Sometimes she carries proper equipment right to the site of
victory so the gods can be properly celebrated for one should not be so
proud as to forget the contribution of the gods in any victory. Nike wanted
to encourage the proper humility. Hera was a goddess who Nike felt was
worthy of respect. She also felt that dancing was a suitable activity
to celebrate a victory. She often carried incense to the site of the victory
so the victor could be purified. When there was a victory she was particularly
interested in announcing it to youths who might be inspired to future deeds.
Even personal beauty might be a victory if achieved.

Moral lessons are associated with Nike

Nike is very much associated with the Olympics and the victories there. One of the Olympic concepts I have considered is the pentathlon. The pentathlon (πενταέθλιον) consisted of five separate parts: ἅλμα (jump), ποδωκείην (footrace), δίσκον (discus), ἄκοντα (javelin), πάλην (wrestling). The word ‘pentathlon’ itself means 5 prizes. The word can be divided into two components “pent” and “athlon”. “pent” means five and has an Indo-European root. “athlon” means “prize” but its root is not known. It may be Minoan. None of the words for the components of the pentathlon have solid Indo-European roots and so the whole idea of the pentathlon may have been Minoan.

The connection between prizes and victory is obvious. Nike is related to Athena because strategy is related to victory and Nike and Athena are often identified. And there is a similarity between the name ‘Athena’ and ‘athlon’. Now it is interesting to note that training seems to have been first associated with the Olympics. The word ‘athlete’ is related to the word ‘athlon’. It was as a part of the Olympics that the competitions involved being in the nude and so it was the gymnasium where athletes went to become nude and train for the Olympics. The word ‘γυμνάσιον’ — ‘gymnasium’ is from the word ‘γυμνός’ — ‘naked’. So there seems to be a connection between the prize and the training that is involved to get the prize. As the number of different prizes expanded so did the training expand in the gymnasium. So by the beginning of the classic period in Greece the word ‘gymnasium’ becomes equivalent to ‘school’. The competitive nature of the Greeks extended the training of the Greeks in the gymnasium from athletics to music, rhetoric, and even geometry.

So the same aspect of life that made Nike important to the Olympics eventually produced schools that taught many subjects that are intellectual instead of physical. Ultimately Athens was the center of learning for the world for over 100 years. And the model for that learning has served us even today with our schools and universities. The Olympics were stopped in 396 AD because it was a pagan festival but the idea of training and education continued. In 1896 the modern Olympics were started. Now we have both influences from ancient Greece.

Nike may involve ideas which came from the Minoans to the ancient Greeks and through them to us. These ideas resulted in cultural institutions which we cherish to this day. The ideas involve knowing that there is something valuable that we can train and study for and that individually and culturally we will all benefit if we pursue it.

Images of Nike

Archermos – A sculptor of the island of Chios, working in the middle of the 6th century BC. He made statues for dedication on the Athens Acropolis, and a statue found on Delos, was attributed to him by ancient sources. This was an innovation which is thought to be the first winged Nike(Victory).

Hesiod wrote this about Nike:

“(ll. 383-403) And Styx the daughter of Ocean was joined to Pallas
and bare Zelus (Emulation) and trim-ankled Nike (Victory) in the
house. Also she brought forth Cratos (Strength) and Bia (Force),
wonderful children. These have no house apart from Zeus, nor any
dwelling nor path except that wherein God leads them, but they
dwell always with Zeus the loud-thunderer. For so did Styx the
deathless daughter of Ocean plan on that day when the Olympian
Lightener called all the deathless gods to great Olympus, and
said that whosoever of the gods would fight with him against the
Titans, he would not cast him out from his rights, but each
should have the office which he had before amongst the deathless
gods. And he declared that he who was without office and rights
as is just. So deathless Styx came first to Olympus with her
children through the wit of her dear father. And Zeus honored
her, and gave her very great gifts, for her he appointed to be
the great oath of the gods, and her children to live with him
always. And as he promised, so he performed fully unto them all.”

Nike was a common visual
art subject, but absent from the literary
arts. Nike could be considered an aspect of Athena. She is represented in
art as winged and as carrying a wreath and a palm branch. The Louvre
in Paris France (Click here has two
representations of Nike:

  • Victoire de Samothrace (Nike of Samothrace)
  • Victoire de Myrina (Nike of Myrina)

The Acropolis Museum in Athens has an image of a young Nike, with wings
outstreched, bending and adjusting her sandal. This work called
‘The Relief parapet from the Nike Temple’ is available at:
Nike Adjusting her Sandal

Other images of Nike:


Nike and Her Impact on Greek Art and Culture

Questions and Answers

Question: what was Nike’s main accomplishments?

Answer: Mainly Nike celebrated victory. Her most important victory
celebration was the victory of the Greeks over the Persians in 480 BCE.

Question: Please give me a link to a picture of the sculpture of Nike. The one that is very large, with wings outstrectched and her head and arms are missing. Thanks.

Answer: Nike of Samothrace

Question: Does she wear a helmet

Answer: I do not find Nike ever wearing a helmet.

Question: map

Answer: A map of Samothrace, Greece, where the Nike of Samothrace was
found, is available at:
Click here.

A map of ancient Greece, with the old names, is available at:
Click Here

Question: Did the Nike company get the name Nike from this goddess?

Answer: More than likely.

Question: Some books said that NIKE sat on top of Mt. Olympus with Zeus, is that true??

Answer: This statement just means that Nike was a goddess. Many of the goddesses live in the palace of Zeus on the top of Mt. Olympus. They actually sit in a palace usually during a banquet.

Question: what is name aman who make NIKE?

Answer: Nike was a virgin goddess born of Pallas and Styx. Many artists
sculpted images of Nike including Phidias.

Question: how tall was she (NIKE) ?

Answer: The Nike of Paionios is 1.98 meter high. A goddess normally stood
a head higher than a mortal.

Question: who constructed the nike holding her sandle?

Answer: This piece is called the “Sandalbinder from the Nike Parapet
Frieze”. The subject is Nike adjusting her sandal. It is in the collection
of the Acropolis Museum in Athens. The style is High Classical. It is dated
ca. 420 B.C. – 400 B.C. It is attributed to the workshop of Master E. It
was part of the frieze in the Temple of Athena Nike. A picture is at:
Click here

Question: How is the image of Nike ideal?

Answer: The ancient Greeks in their art tried to achieve a perfection
that was a generalization of many instances. They tried to take the best of
many instances and incorporate it in the image. To them reality was and ideal
form toward which everything strived. The problem with the images of Nike
is that you have the ideal but little of the instances from which she was
generalized, and little discussion of what the ideal involves. So you are
left to deduce from the ideal what might have been the real.

Question: A OF A THEMIS

Answer: Themis is the personification of justice.

Question: did this goddes ever fall in love

Answer: Probably, but there is no record of it. Perhaps the object of her
love was one of the many victors that she celebrated.

Question: what roll did nike play in the battle of the titans

Answer: she was one of the fighters.

Question: Did she have any weaknesses?

Answer: All deities were limited by right and fate and they were limited to
their own unique realm, which in the case of Nike was the celebration of

Question: Did she have any special interests?

Answer: Her interests were in her realm, the celebration of victory.
All goddesses were interested in their appearance, also.

Question: Was there anything that was sacred to her?

Answer: Victory was sacred to her. A number of temples were built for her. Plato explains (Plato, Laws, 8.828b) that gymnastic contests were suitable regigios festival activities for almost any deity.

Question: How was she born?

Answer: Nike was born of Pallas and Styx.

Question: Did she have a Roman name?

Answer: She was called “Nike” and “Victory”.

Question: What was the form in which she was born? Was she born from her
fathers head or something of that sort?

Answer: She was born in the normal way from her mother’s womb and nursed
by her mother Styx in the palace of Zeus. Both her mother and father oversaw
her education.

Question: Are there any stories about her? If there are where could I find
them on the Internet and read them?

Answer: This is the best site on Nike on the Internet. There are stories
above. In Apollodorus is this quote:

“(1.6.2) …; and she (Athena) flayed Pallas and used his skin to shield
her own body in the fight.”

Pallas was the father of Nike and you might expect that Nike was upset
that Athena killed her father. She was not because Pallas sexually assaulted
his daughters. The quote also suggests that the titan Pallas was a god
who was involved with some type of protection. After the death of Pallas this
protection passed to Athena. In the beginning people think to depend on
strength for protection. Only later do they realize that wisdom is more
important than strenght. With victory this is also true. To win a contest
wisdom is often more important than strength. Another common notion is that
strength makes more sexually appealing, but this is a very short term view.
The partners should consider the long-term consequences of what they do. This
requires wisdom to temper the short term consequences of sex. In this case
the victory is one of wisdom over passion.

Question: Did she have any special powers?

Answer: Every goddess had a special realm in which they operated and hers
was the celebration of victory. All goddesses have the ability
to move through the air, change shape, and foretell the future.

Question: Was Nike a real Greek Goddess?

Answer: The ancient Greeks believed she was real.

Question: Nike is depicted as headless – are there any stories of how she
was decapitated?

Answer: Nike was not decapitated in ancient Greek times. During the Roman
period many new religions swept through Greece, including Christianity. Some
of the religions, such as Christianity did not respect the old religion and
the statues of the ancient Greek deities were pulled down and dumped in a
rubbish heap. Often statues lost their heads and arms with this rough
treatment. Other statues were damaged by the excesses of invading armies.

Question: Did any of the other gods or goddesses favor her?

Answer: She was a favorite of many of the deities who often invited her to
their festive events.

Question: Who are the goddesses of hearth, and the goddess of hunt?

Answer: Hestia and Artemis

Question: Was the sport company Nike named after the goddess?

Answer: Yes. Jeff Johnson, the first employee of the company did this in

Question: what is nikes symbol?

Answer: Wings and a victory wreath.

Question: What does Nike tell us about Ancient Greek culture?

Answer: The ancient Greeks were very competitive.

Question: Did Nike have a daughter or a son or did she remain a virgin?

Answer: No information about her marital state is available.

Question: Is Nike related to Zeus?

Answer: All the Greek deities are related.

Question: Who was the roman counterpart of Nike?

Answer: Victory.

Question: WOW you have so much information on Nike! I wrote a play about Greek
Mythology and Nike is one of the characters (she’s Athena’s constant
companion and her cheerleader – it’s a twisted look at the Greek gods)
I just wanted to say your page is amazing and I have one question is Nike
alway in a long gown this sound wierd but I ned to know for costuming see
she’s going to be in a short cheerleading dress or a long dress with slits.

Answer: Nike always wears a chiton but the length of a chiton can vary from
mid-thigh to ground depending on the mood and activity. The key to this is
how the garment is folded and tied with a belt.
The following could be a guide to Nike in a shorter garment:
winged goddess and men, Boston 98.918

Question: is nike associated with the ancient olympics?

Answer: Yes.

Question: Why does Nike have no myths of her own?

Answer: The myths were developed by bards who were describing a society
just before the Trojan War. Nike was not a part of this society. She was
separated out by artists working during the classical period.

Question: Why did Jeff Jonston choose this name for the company Nike?

Answer: Probably because it is a simple name without bad associations
that has the good association of victory.

Question: What would Nike hold in her hand besides a wreath or ribbon? I am
researching a Pelike from about 450 BCE and she has a small object that is in
her right hand. The hand is positioned palm up and the small object floats a
bit above it. Do you have any idea what it could be?

Answer: “and a flowering tendril in her right.” is a quote for the
following image: Click here

Question: i am looking for info about Nike of samothrace concerning the
sculpture itself such as how it was constructed and its original situation.

Answer: This statue is part of the collection of the Louvre in Paris and
here is whar they say about it:

"Victory of Samothrace"
Samothrace (island in the North Aegean Sea)
Circa 190 BC
Grey Lartos marble for the ship, Paros marble for the
H 328 cm (including the wings)
Ma 2369

For the Greeks, the goddess of Victory (Nike) was a
beautiful young woman endowed with wings. This
exceptional monument, raised upon the isle of
Samothrace, set in a niche overlooking the sanctuary of
the Great Gods, celebrates success at sea. The goddess
stands on the prow of a galley, resisting the gusty
storm, her right arm undoubtedly held high. It was an
ex-voto of the Rhodians for a victory won at the
beginning of the 2nd century BC: the attitude and the
animated draping prefigure the reliefs for the altar of

Louvre Web site

The statue was carved free-hand from Paros marble. Not much detail
is available on the sculptor or when it was carved.

Question: does Nike have any related stories that have anything to do with
creatures. And is she related to any humans?

Answer: No.

Question: I would like to know about Nikes love life and if she was married
and if she had kids, their names and info on them please.

Answer: There is no information on this.

Question: In which book did Hesiod write about Nike?

Answer: Hesiod: “(THE THEOGONY, ll. 383-403) And Styx the daughter of Ocean
was joined to Pallas and bare Zelus (Emulation) and trim-ankled Nike (Victory)
in the house (of Zeus).”

Question: I’m studying a greek red figure lekythos (ca 470 bc) by Oionokles
painter of a winged woman that I assume is Nike. She appears to be holding an
instrument like an accordion and with the other hand that is outstretched, a
bowl. Do you think this is her? What is the significance of the instrument
and the bowl? Thanks!

Answer: The following vase fits your description:
Austin 1980.63: Early Classical; Attic Red Figure; Lekythos; Flying Nike with
kithara and phiale.

The kithara is for music and the phiale is for libations. The kithara
would have provided the music for a victory dance.

Question: Why does the picture show her breast?

Answer: I have only found one image of Nike with a bare breast:
Click here.
The sculptor of this piece obviously wanted to emphasize the graceful
qualities of the feminine form. Female breasts were not made to be hidden
or they would be less pronounced as in other animals. Covering them is
a matter of taste, but leaving them uncovered is a matter of their nature.

Question: Is there anything to show she is more worthy than other Gods
and Goddesses?

Answer: Nike was a lesser goddess, but she had higher status than many. Some
of the lesser goddesses had to serve the higher ones. Nike served no one, but
she had goddesses that served her.

Question: Is she more special than others in some way, how?

Answer: Each goddess had a special realm. Nike’s realm was the celebration
of Victory. No other goddess could do this.

Question: What is Nike’s supernatural qualities or talents?

Answer: All goddesses are immortal and have the gift of prophesy. They also
can move through the air and change their shape.

Question: Why is Nike so special?

Answer: Victory is unique. The ancient Greeks were unique in including gymnastic contests in religious festivals.

Question: How tall is nike

Answer: The typical goddess stood a full head higher than the average
Greek warrior.

Question: Did Nike have any childern and did she have a husband?

Answer: Nike has no children and no husband.

Question: What was the time period during when Nike was worshiped, and was
there anything famous during that time period? Thanks.

Answer: The Olympics began in 776 BCE in Olympia. They continued to be celebrated when Greece came under Roman rule, until the emperor Theodosius I suppressed them in 394. There were many famous things that happened during this period, but the most
famous thing was the defeat of Persia by the Greeks against overwhelming odds.
Eventually Alexander conquered all of Persia and an enormous part of the
rest of the world.

Question: What does Nike mean and represent in Greek and why is it that

Answer: Nike is the name of the Greek Goddess of victory and no other
meaning of the name is known. One possible derivation of the word is the Indo-European ‘skei-‘, ‘To cut, split’. This would give it the same derivation as the English word ‘nice’. This is consistent with the concept that a victor is cut away from the pack. The symbol of Nike is the wreath. The ancient Greeks placed a wreath on the head of the victor in a contest.

Question: Did Nike die and if so how.

Answer: The ancient Greeks believed Nike is an immortal and will never die.

Question: When was she born.

Answer: She was born after the palace of Zeus was built on Mt. Olympus.

Question: I am doing a report in my social studies class and I have chosen the Goddess
Nike. You have given the most valuable information that I have been able to
find on the web. Thank you, however, I am supposed to list all sources of
information and I did not find any sources listed on the Nike page.

Answer: Hesiod wrote about Nike so he is a source.
Each of the ancient Greek images is also a source.
Both these sources can be found in Perseus at:
Perseus — Perseus Project –
An Evolving Digital Library. This web page should also be listed as a source.

Question: I need info on how this god was created and why?

Answer: The ancient Greeks were very competitive and set up many competitions
with awards given. The ancient Greeks believe she was born from two deities. Teh ancient Greeks believed she is the daughter of the giant Pallas and the river Styx. But they also believed the best path to victory was strategy. So she also can be considered a child of Athena, the goddess of strategy.

Question: Does Nike have any cousins, brothers, or sisters that
are gods or goddess? And if so, can you list a couple, please?

Answer: Hesiod, The Theogany,(ll. 383-403) And Styx the daughter of
Ocean was joined to Pallas
and bare Zelus (Emulation) and trim-ankled Nike (Victory) in the
house. Also she brought forth Cratos (Strength) and Bia (Force),
wonderful children. These have no house apart from Zeus, nor any
dwelling nor path except that wherein God leads them, but they
dwell always with Zeus the loud-thunderer. For so did Styx the
deathless daughter of Ocean plan on that day when the Olympian
Lightener called all the deathless gods to great Olympus, and
said that whosoever of the gods would fight with him against the
Titans, he would not cast him out from his rights, but each
should have the office which he had before amongst the deathless
gods. And he declared that he who was without office and rights
as is just. So deathless Styx came first to Olympus with her
children through the wit of her dear father. And Zeus honoured
her, and gave her very great gifts, for her he appointed to be
the great oath of the gods, and her children to live with him
always. And as he promised, so he performed fully unto them all.

This quote lists the siblings of Nike. Cousins would be too numerous
to mention because Ocean had over 3000 daughters.

Question: What do people say of the image of Nike Unbinding her

Answer: This is a wonderful image of Nike, remarkable for its pose and
the quality of the drapery. The pose gives a sense of dynamic action while
the drapery has a flowing quality achieved only in the best work. Notice
that details of the body can be visualized through the drapery.

Question: Are there any myths about Nike and Athena, I mean they
include the both of them?

Answer: There are many images of the two together, but no myths. The victory of the Greeks over the Persians involved both Nike and Athena. The Parthenon, built to celebrate the victory of the Greeks over the Persians, included a statue of Athena holding Nike in her hand.

Question: How did nike get her wings?

Answer: All Greek goddesses can move through the air and have the ability
to change their shape if they want. If they want to appear with wings they
can. But some goddesses are more inclined to appear with wings because at
one time they were associated with birds. This is especially true of Athena
who, in the time before history, was a bird goddess. In some of the images
of Athena her aegis looks like a wing. Also in the time before history
Nike and Athena were regarded as one goddess. Except for the fact that
Athena is a virgin goddess, Nike would be the daughter of Athena. The fact
that Athena was once a bird goddess allowed Nike to have wings when she
separated from Athena. Poetically this works because victory is often compared
to a soaring flight.

Question: Who was the artistss that make the sculpture of Nike?

Answer: A few of the artists of ancient Greek sculptures can be identified:

Question: a time line of when she lived include major events
that were happening around her time

Answer: Nike is an immortal goddess who was born after the creation of the
earth and is still alive today.

Some major events in her life:

  • Battle of the Titans.
  • The Trojan War (1194-1183? BCE).
  • Defeat of the Persians by the Greeks(490 BCE)
  • Second Defeat of the Persians by the Greeks (479 BCE)
  • The First Peloponnesian War (460 – 446 BCE)
  • The Ascension of Alexander the Great(336 BCE).
  • Roman victory over the Corinthians at the Battle of Corinth in 146 BCE.

Question: May I please have a little info on the picture up
above: Nike of Paionios?

Answer: This very sculpture is mentioned by Pausanias, Description of
Greece,5.26.1: “The Dorian Messenian who received Naupactus from the Athenians
dedicated at Olympia the image of Victory upon the pillar. It is the work of
Paeonius of Mende, and was made from the proceeds of enemy spoils, I think
from the war with the Arcarnanians and Oeniadae. The Messenians themselves
declare that their offering came from their exploit with the Athenians in the
island of Sphacteria, and that the name of their enemy was omitted through
dread of the Lacedaemonians; for, they say, they are not in the least afraid
of Oeniadae and the Acarnanians.”

What remains of the statue is displayed in Greece at the Olympia
Archeological Museum: Click here Next is a comparison of the remains with a reconstruction:
Click here
A biography of the artist is available at: Click here

Question: Why did Nike had to fight against the Titan and why did
this began in the first place?

Answer: Zeus had to overthrow the old gods and Nike wanted to help him.
Humans could not live under the rule of the old gods so Nike helped pave the
way for humans to worship Zeus.

Question: what does her victory wreath look like?

Answer: It is just a branch of olive leaves bent into a circle:
Click here

Question: What kind of musical instrument does Nike play? I have seen
one in an image of her and I would like to know what it is for a

Answer: Nike played a lyre or a reeded flute.

Question: Why do you say that’s a recent pic? It’s just an angel
it’s even titled angel, it’s not meant to be Nike.

Answer: Here is a quote that might help: “The Greeks were particularly keen
on their messengers from the gods. Hermes was not the only one, and Nike, the
winged Victory, is the classical antecedent for all those exultant Renaissance
angels that continue to define our image of them now.” reference

Question: what was Nike’s temple used for ?

Answer: Worship of the goddess Nike. This might include processions,
libations, or sacrifices, that were performed to bring the favor of Nike.
Petitions in the form of prayers could be presented to the priestesses
who would communicate them to the goddess. If an answer was received
from the goddess it would be presented to the petitioner. Temples were
also used like banks and could store coins for safekeeping.

Question: Is Nike pronounced “Ni-Kee” as in the athletic company, or another way?

Yes, they are the same.

Question: How large was the cult of Nike? Are there any modern images of the goddess?

Answer: There is no information about a cult of Nike. Other images of Nike
are at Click here

Question: Please give me information about the Nike with her hands missing

Answer: Perhaps you mean the
Victory of Myrina which is at the Louvre
Click here

Question: Is there only one winged nike, or are there duplicates

Answer: There is only one goddess Nike and she may have wings but she is
often pictured with them. There are many sculptures of Nike some with wings
and some without. Many of these sculptures have been copied.

Question: Why are shoes and clothes named after her?

Answer: She provides an air of credibility to the products but there is
no real connection. Many companies are named after Greek gods and goddesses.

Question: How is she significant to Greek philosophy

Answer: She emphasizes the idealism of the Greeks.

Statement by a correspondant: not a question but an answer. Nike co. is actually named after Nike because it simbolizes both victory and ideal (since it belongs to Greek art which seeks for the ideal stuff in what they do).

Question: What was one great thing Nike did?

Answer: All Nike does is celebrate victories. But in ancient Greece she
celebrated some of the most remarkable victories ever witnessed.

Question: What does the greek goddess represnt? What kind of a myth does she have? Do we still use any words/items that she used?

Answer: A goddess is an object of faith and worship. Each goddess represents
a natural force or a manifestation that has explanatory value for phenomena of
the world. Typically a goddess is conceived as having ideal qualities in
a practical realm of being. These ideal qualities are the natural rules
by which the realm is organized. The ideal for Nike is Victory.

Question: What is the importance of Nike in the Greek cilivisation?

Answer: The ancient Greeks were extremely competitive and Nike symbolized
the importance of victory to competition.

Question: How do I dress up like Nike?

Answer: Put on a one or two-piece body suit that you wear under a
see-through garment. Wear a see-through chiton over that. This chiton
is made of two squares of light material (knitted silk may be best) fastened together in two places around your neck. The squares are about six feet square. The trick is to gather
the material interestingly with a belt or pins. Over the chiton you can
wear a peplos or girdle. The girdle could be a band or apron like garment.
For a prop use a torch. Nike would have used a bundle of sticks tied
together at several places with a longer stick for a handle. An electric light in the bundle is adequate. You can also wear a wreath on your head.

Question: How is Nike related to the Olympics?

Answer: Nike celebrated victories, even those in the Olympics.

Question: Why didn’t she have a head?

Answer: Nike has always had a head. Some of the statues of Nike have gotten
broken and lost their heads.

Question: What is the Greek word for small?

Answer: Try μικρό (mikro), which is related to
the English prefix ‘micro-‘.

Question: Are there any other short names like Nike? I am naming a pet!


Answer: Io, Ate (blind ruin), Nao, Eos (dawn), Ino, Nyx (night)

Question: Wat was the year and Date Nike was born?

Answer: No god or goddess can be assigned a birth date. All were born
before recorded history. The more important deities are assigned a birth
month and day so a holy day can be celebrated at that time.

Question: can you show me a painting of the Nike sine?

Answer: Nike sine

Question: I heard a theory which states that Nike of Samothrace is a remake or very much influenced by Paionius’s Nike.
is it true? does it have proofs?


  • “Victory of Samothrace”
    Samothrace (island in the North Aegean Sea)
    Circa 190 BC
    Grey Lartos marble for the ship, Paros marble for the statue
    H 328 cm (including the wings)
    Ma 2369
  • Winged Victory of Samothrace – This magnificent statue commemorates a naval victory, possibly that of a Rhodian fleet in the second century B.C. One of the greatest masterpieces of Hellenic Greek sculpture that has come down to us, it is also one of the few for which it has been possible to reconstitute its original presentation, on the prow of a vessel.
  • Louvre, location of the above.
  • Nike of Paionios
  • Nike of Paionios

The statue depicts a winged woman. An inscription on the base states that the statue was dedicated by the Messenians and the Naupactians for their victory against the Lacedaemonians (Spartans), in the Archidamian (Peloponnesian) war probably in 421 B.C. It is the work of the sculptor Paionios of Mende in Chalkidiki, who also made the acroteria of the Temple of Zeus.
Nike, cut from Parian marble, has a height of 2,115m, but with the tips of her (now broken) wings would have reached 3m. In its completed form, the monument with its triangular base (8,81m high) would have stood at the height of 10,92m. giving the impression of Nike triumphantly descending from Olympos. It dates from 421 B.C.

Several conclusions can be drawn from the above. Neither is a copy of the
other. Over 600 years separate these works that were not that far apart. This
is ample opportunity for influence. The poses are similar so there is a likely
possibility that one influenced the other. But there is little information about either statue and almost none about the Nike of Samothrace.

The Nike of Paeonius is referenced by Pausanias: “XXVI.[1] The Dorian Messenian who received Naupactus from the Athenians dedicated at Olympia the image of Victory upon the pillar. It is the work of Paeonius of Mende, and was made from the proceeds of enemy spoils,1 I think from the war with the Arcarnanians and Oeniadae. The Messenians themselves declare that their offering came from their exploit with the Athenians in the island of Sphacteria,2 and that the name of their enemy was omitted through dread of the Lacedaemonians; for, they say, they are not in the least afraid of Oeniadae and the Acarnanians.”
There are no references to the Nike of Samothrace in Ancient times.

Question: If Nike was never headless why is she depicted that was in peoms and comentary

Answer: Nike, the goddess, has always had her head. But the statue of Nike
found in Samothrace is missing hers. The statue of Nike found in Olympia,
Nike Paionios, has most of hers, though it is badly broken.
The other Nike at the Louvre, The Nike of Myrina, has a lovely head. The
Nike Acroterion, from the Temple of Apollo at Delphi, is also missing her head.
The poems and commentary are obviously referring to one of the headless
statues. By the way, there is also a head of Nike missing the rest of the
statue: Click here

Question: how long has nike fought against the Titans and how long im just looking up info. for english project ooh you have some good info. on this page!!

Answer: Zeus fought the Titans for ten years according to Hesiod (Hesiod’s Theogony 617-735). One can assume that Nike fought the whole time.

Question: If Athena was Nike’s mother,who was her father?

Answer: Athena is a virgin goddess with no offspring. Styx is her mother
and Pallas is her father.

Question: Since Nike is often seen in the palm of Zeus’ hand, is Zeus extremely large compared to the other gods and goddesses?

Answer: No. This is artistic convention. Gods and goddesses are
considered to to be larger than mortals only when they appear in their
human form. But their ability ot change shapes allows them to change into
something very small, such as a fly, Or something very large, like a bull,
an elephant, or even a whale. Their identification with their realm suggests
that their size might equal the size of their realm. But since love is
everywhere, and knowledge is everywhere, both Aphrodite and Athena may be
not only as large as the Universe, but also as large as Zeus. They must
also be intermixed.

Question: what does nike mean?

Answer: Victory.

Question: what are some positive personality trait about Nike

Answer: People who are victorious are happy and proud.

Question: what is Nike’s power?

Answer: Nike’s main power is that she provides the rules for the realm of
victory. She also has the same powers as all other goddesses: Ability to
change her shape, forcast the future, move through the air, Cause change,
and live forever.

Question: How did Nike’s life come to an end?

Answer: She is as much alive today as she ever was.

Question: I thought that the temple Nike Athena was the temple of Athena. Is it also the temple of Athena as well?

Answer: The Parthenon is the temple of Athena.

Question: What is Nike’s emblem?

Answer: Click here

Question: Is Athena Nike and Nike of Samothrace the same or are they two
different art works? Am I wrong to say, in my report, that the statue Nike
of Samothrace was placed in the Temple of Athena Nike?

Answer: In Athens a Temple to Athena Nike was built. This was probably a
reference to the type of victory that Athena would bring. The ancient Greeks
believed in the importance of strategy in war and celebrated strategic
victories. There was probably a statue of Nike in this temple but it is now
lost. The Nike of Samothrace was a statue of Nike installed on the island
of Samothrace. It was never in the Temple of Athena Nike in Athens.

Question: what is the meaning of her name?

Answer: ‘Nike’ means ‘victory’.

Question: what are the formal elements

Answer: When considering a statue such as the Nike of Samothrace the
formal elements are the basic parts of the form of the sculpture that
make the statue so interesting. In the case of the Nike of Samothrace the
formal elements include the folds of the drapery and the twist of the torso.

Question: Was any one ever in love with nike

Answer: Ancient Greece was a very competitive society where everyone loved
Nike. There is no record of her affairs, however.

Question: How often is nike depicted pre-persian war, and how? Is there a significant
bend toward the worship of her after 490 BC, and if not why not before then,
because of the Trojan War, or even the Battle of the Titans? Is there any
archaic art depicting her, or hellenistic, or even transitional classical?

Answer: Nike is mentioned by Hesiod but not by Homer. Archermos was
A sculptor of the island of Chios, working in the middle of the 6th
century BC. He made statues for dedication on the Athens Acropolis, and a
statue found on Delos, thought to be the first winged Nike (Victory), an
innovation which was attributed to him by ancient sources. This is an
archaic statue illustrated at:$
Nike is frequently illustrated during the classical period but there are
no myths about her. She was often associated with the athletic games such
as the Olympics. The victory of the Greeks over the Persians was so
amazing that it must have stimulated some interest in Nike. The Nike of
Samothrace is a Hellenistic piece. During the Roman period there were
many versions of Victory, the Roman equivalent of Nike. Because Nike was
a winged goddess many of her statues were expropriated for use as angels
by the Christians.

Question: What battles did the goddess Nike fight in, and the battles she was in, what is the full story about the battle and the role she played in the specific battle??

Answer: The only battle that Nike fought in was the battle between the gods lead by Zeus and the Titans lead by Cronus. For all the other battles after this she is just an observer. “The abominable Oceanid, Styga, (“abomination”) together with her four children, Cratos (Might), Bia (Force), Zelus (Zeal) and Nike (Victory) were the first to come to Zeus’ aid.” Reference

I am doing a paper on Nike for school. I have so
answer some questions for this paper. First I would
like to tell you that your web site was very helpful
and answered almost all my question except these
1. What were Nike's accomplishments?
2. What did Nike fail to accomplish?
3. What were Nike's responsibilities?

Answer: Nike is a goddess and not a mortal. Goddesses have neither accomplishments nor failures as they are perfect. The equivalent of these and their responsibilities are bound up in their realm. Each deity has a realm conceived for them at birth. This is a part of the conception or birth of the deity. When the deity is born the first act is to promulgate the rules of the realm. These rules form the realm’s nature. Then the deity maintains the realm by observation, hearing prayers and granting favors and exceptions. Essentially the deity must hold court with prayers being the petitions to the court. The deity then decides what action, if any, is appropriate. The responsibility of the deity is to maintain the realm in this way. There is a sense in which the realm embodies the accomplishments and failures of the goddess. The realm for Nike is the celebration of victory.

In the mortal world realms are physical. They are plots, acreage, or kingdoms. Nike’s realm is spiritual. It is even more difficult to grasp than the
qualities like love and wisdom that are personified by Aphrodite and Athena.
Yet even so her realm has boundaries containing objects with relationships just as the physical realms do. A study of the pictures of Nike that come to us
from ancient Greece are the best source as to what this is all about.

Question – I’m doing a crest on a god or goddess and need to know a few things. What were her parents greatest achievements? What is her greatest wish if she were a mortal for a day? What was her greatest failure? And what were 3 things she wished to be remembered for? What was Nike’s greatest personal achievement?

Answer – You are confusing goddesses with mortals. Mortals have achievements; goddesses have realms which they are assigned at birth. The realm of Nike is Victory. All victories are hers. The victory of the Greeks over the Persians was remarkable. But there are others. Styx and Pallas were Nike’s parents but you must ask why? Pallas was the Titan god (perhaps) of war-craft. Styx was the goddess of oaths and hence dedication. You should then see that dedication and war-craft are the keys to victory. Note that Pallas is related also to Pallas Athena and so war-craft relates to strategy as well as Cratos (Strength) and Bia (Force), Nike’s siblings . This is what worked for the Greeks against the Persians and led to the Greek Victory. The Greeks were so grateful that they built the Parthenon for Athena and Nike.

Question: Do they have a special temple or holiday to celebrate Nike? Do they have anything unusual they do to celebrate her?

Answer: It seems that only the Athenians had a temple to Nike. And the building of this temple was a special act to commemorate the Greek victory over the Persians. The temple stands beside the gateway to the Acropolis at Athens. It was designed by Callicrates in the ancient Greek Ionic style and it was begun in 427 B.C.E., two years after the death of Pericles. The building was enclosed in 424 BCE but the sculpture work continued until 410 BCE. It is one of the greatest works of Architecture ever built. It is currently in an excellent state of preservation though some of the decorating art has been removed.

Though Nike was a common subject in art her reference in literature is skimpy. The only myth in which she is mentioned references the myth of the battle of Zeus and the Titans. Styx brought her four children, Nike (Victory), Zelos (Rivalry), Kratos (Strength) and Bia (Force) into the service of the god and Nike was appointed his charioteer. She often appears driving the chariot of Zeus for this reason. In addition Nike was depicted in ancient Greek vase painting with a variety of attributes including a wreath or sash to crown a victor, an oinochoe and phiale (bowl and cup) for libations, a thymiaterion (incense burner), an altar, and a lyre for the celebration of victory in song. Her statue was placed in a number of Temples including the temple of Zeus at Olympia and the Parthenon in Athens. The Nike of Samothrace is one of the most famous statues in the world today.

The placing of the wreath on the head of the victor should be considered an unusual act to celebrate Nike. For the ancient Greeks this was a religious ceremony. The events that resulted in this act were always part of a festival for a deity. Wreaths for Zeus were olive at Olympia or oak at Dodona. Wreaths for Apollo at Delos were laurel. During the Panathenea an olive wreath was used. At a a festival for Dionysus an ivy wreath was used. Often at these festivals the plays were in competition and the playwright of the best play was awarded an ivy wreath.

Question: What trees,herbs,plants,animals,elements,are associated with her and why?

Answer: Any plant that makes a wreath can be associated with Nike. Normally the wreath is made of a plant associated with the contest set up for another deity. In Ancient Greece competitions were scheduled during holy days associated with different deities. The deity would determine the nature of the competition. For Dionysus drama writing was the competition and the wreath of victory was Ivy. If there were a weaving competition for Athena the wreath would be Olive. Poetry competitions for Apollo would have a Laurel wreath. Victors of the Nemean Games of Zeus were crowned with wild celery. Victors of the Isthmian Games were originally crowned with a pine wreath and later celery. These competitions were actually forms of worship for the deities and Nike glorified the result.

Question: What was Nike’s role in the Trojan War?

Answer: Not much. Athena wanted the victory but she did not like how it was celebrated. She thought the Achaeans were too violent and unjust with too much killing, rape and pillage. She convinced Zeus to create a huge storm that sank half the Achaean fleet as it returned home. So Nike stayed away.

Question: did Nike fight during any war, and if you in what way?

Answer: With Nike on your side she did not need to fight. Her presence made you a winner. She was on the side of the Olympians in the war of the Titans and Olympians. But Zeus and Athena did most of the fighting.

Question: What were some of the myths about Nike?

Answer: There are few myths about Nike. She helped Zeus battle the Titans. But there are stories about Nike. When the Greeks battled the Persians Nike helped celebrate the Victory. The Greeks did not win because of superior forces but rather by strategy. So Athena, the goddess of strategy, helped the Greeks, and Nike and Athena celebrated together. There is much more about Nike in visual art than in myth. Nike is often shown driving a chariot because this is what she did for Zeus in his battle with the Titans. You might look at other images of Nike to see what they tell you.

Question: I wanted to know if it would be correct to write that myths that mention goddess Nike were the titan war and the battle of marathon. For my school report, they want us to list myths in which our god/goddess is written about or mentioned. From reviewing your website, I understand that there are no specific myths about Nike and I am wondering if this would be an appropriate answer.

Answer: Your statement would not be correct. The reference to Nike is: Hesiod , Theogony, Lines 383-385. Just a few lines later is the reference to her fighting with Zeus against the Titans. Writings about Marathon are not considered myth because this is an historical event. But it would not be wrong for you to list the ancient images in which Nike appears. A myth can be illustrated visually or with text.

Question: –In what way, or how, did Nike Fight in battle. Did she use weapons or just being there?
–Didn’t Nike have two brothers and one sister?

Answer: When you have Nike on your side Victory is yours. Her weapon is just that — Victory. But notice that it is hard to separate Nike from Athena so strategy must be a component on victory. When you have strategy on your side you may have no need of weapons. One strategy is to allow your opponent to use their weapons in wasteful ways and sap their strength.

The children of Styx are Zelus (Zeal), Nike (Victory), Bia (Force), and Cratus (Power.

Question: why was nikes symbols the wing and victory wreath.

Answer: The victory wreath was given to the victor in the athletic games such as the Olympic games. The wings do indicate that she is a goddess. It seems that Nike is more commonly imaged with wings than the other goddesses but all can be so depicted. The “Nike of Samothrace” has wings. The “Nike Adjusting her Sandal” has wings. The Nike by Paionius has wings. Notice that the “American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language” defines winged as ‘swift, fleet’ and since the first Olympic contests were foot races it is easy to see how wings were associated with victory. You will notice that in the restoration of the Parthenon Naos Athena, without wings, is holding a winged Nike. Nike and Athena are closely identified. It is possible that the wings on the Nike help to distinguish her from Athena. This same situation holds for the Varvakeion Athena which is believed to be a Roman copy of the Athena in the Parthenon.

Question: This time I’d like to ask about NIke. What would be the advised costume for her and what are the possible lines she would say. And I was thinking to make wreath that she’d wear any specifics on the wreath. And I was planning to use green as a cloth since I read green was the color of victory in ancient greece is that alright?.And do you have any quotes from her?

Answer: For the ancient Greeks Nike would be dressed in a peplos. Other sites do indicate that green is the color of victory but I cannot verify this from the ancient literature. The wreath that she holds in her hand for presentation will be green. It may be made of laurel, ivy, olive, oak,p grape leaves or almost any other green vegetation. The leaves depended upon the patron deity of the festival where the victory was won. The crown on her head should be a simple band of gold or silver. In her other hand she holds a torch. Nike is often shown with wings, but they are merely symbolic. On the costume these need only be pictures of wings. I know of no quotes from Nike. But upon presenting the wreath she would say something like: “I present to you this wreath of victory in the name of Zeus (, Apollo, Dionysus, or Athena depending upon the festival)”. Athletic contests in ancient Greece were an accepted form of religious worship. Though the Olympics are the best known with their olive wreath there were many others. You could pick almost any god or goddess and go with the symbols of that deity for the wreath.

Question: Did Nike have any numbers or colors associated with her?

Answer: The best number to associate with Nike is one. A contest always singles out the one best. Gold might be the best color as victory medals are often gold.

Question: I was wondering what impact Nike had on greek culture and their victories. Did Greeks use Nike for any propaganda or political victories?

Answer: Nike was a part of a victory celebration. The ancient Greeks were a very competitive people. In addition to fighting battles in wars they also included contests of many sorts in their religious ceremonies and celebrations. It was Nike who is believed to have put the wreath on the victor in these contests. Vases were made that imaged this act. If a battle was won then a statue of Nike might have been made to celebrate this fact. Such objects obviously served as publicity for the victory. Here are two quotes which suggest the extent on which Nike might have been used as propaganda:

Pausanias, Description of Greece 3. 15. 7 :

“[At Sparta in Lakonia] is an old image of Enyalios in fetter. The idea the Lakedaimonians express by this image is the same as the Athenians express by their Wingless Nike; the former think that Enyalios will never run away from them, being bound in the fetters, while the Athenians think that Nike, having no wings, will always remain where she is. In this fashion, and with such a belief, have these cities set up the wooden images.”

Pausanias, Description of Greece 4. 36. 6 :
“The Athenians dedicated a bronze statue of Nike also on the acropolis as a memorial of the events of Sphakteria [their victory over the Spartans].”

Question: What do the Nike symbols (Wings, wreath, staff, chariot) each stand for or represent?


  • The wings symbolize the fact that a goddess like Nike can fly.
  • The wreath symbolizes victory. The Greek word “στεφάνι” references many things worn on the head. This suggests that a wreath gives status to an individual to whom it is bestowed. The wreath becomes a crown of glory.
  • The staff in her hand in some pictures is a caduceus. This is a talking stick. A messenger holds this stick because he has the right to speak. Nike is a messenger from Zeus to the victor proclaiming the glory of his victory.
  • The chariot is the conveyance of an important person. In Homer only the heroes and deities rode chariots. Chariots were also the swiftest form of transportation. They symbolize speed and importance.

Question: Describe Nike’s personality. (attitude,character)

Answer: Nike is the personification of victory. This means that the personality of Nike is determined by the nature of victory. With victory there is a struggle of a person against one or more opponents. Then there is the clear indication of that person as clearly superior to the others. Typically that person feels a sense of exaltation and superiority. This is a positive and good feeling that some strive for. It is a sense of pride. This is the essence of Nike’s personality. She is sort of an ideal cheerleader always bubbling over with pride.