Nike (mythology)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Nike
Goddess of victory
Goddess Nike at Ephesus, Turkey.JPG
Stone carving of the goddess Nike at the ruins of the ancient Greek city of Ephesus
Abode Mount Olympus
Parents Pallas and Styx
Siblings Kratos, Bia, Zelus
Roman equivalent Victoria

In Greek mythology, Nike (/ˈnki/; Greek: Νίκη, "Victory", pronounced [nǐːkɛː]) was a goddess who personified victory, also known as the Winged Goddess of Victory. The Roman equivalent was Victoria. Depending upon the time of various myths, she was described as the daughter of the Titan Pallas and the goddess Styx, and the sister of Kratos (Strength), Bia (Force), and Zelus (Zeal).[1]

Etymology[edit]

The word νίκη nikē is of uncertain etymology. R. S. P. Beekes has suggested a Pre-Greek origin.[2]

Ancient references[edit]

Nike and her siblings were close companions of Zeus, the dominant deity of the Greek pantheon. According to classical (later) myth, Styx brought them to Zeus when the god was assembling allies for the Titan War against the older deities. Nike assumed the role of the divine charioteer, a role in which she often is portrayed in Classical Greek art. Nike flew around battlefields rewarding the victors with glory and fame, symbolized by a wreath of Laurel leaves (Bay leaves, see the illustration at right.)

Statuette of goddess Nike found in Vani, Georgia.

Nike is seen with wings in most statues and paintings, one of the most famous being the Winged Victory of Samothrace. Most other winged deities in the Greek pantheon had shed their wings by Classical times. Nike is the goddess of strength, speed, and victory. Nike was a very close acquaintance of Athena, and is thought to have stood in Athena's outstretched hand in the statue of Athena located in the Parthenon.[3] Nike is one of the most commonly portrayed figures on Greek coins.[4]

Names stemming from Nike include among others: Nikolaos, Nicholas, Nicola, Nick, Nicolai, Nikolai, Nicolae, Nils, Klaas, Nicole, Ike, Niki, Nikita, Nika, Niketas, Nikki, Nico, and Veronica.

Contemporary usage[edit]

Statue of the Goddess Nike on the Titanic Engineers' Memorial, Southampton.

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Smith, Nice.
  2. ^ R. S. P. Beekes, Etymological Dictionary of Greek, Brill, 2009, pp. 1021–2.
  3. ^ "Nike: Greek goddess of victory". Theoi.com. Retrieved 2011-11-15. 
  4. ^ Sayles, Wayne G. (2007). Ancient Coin Collecting II. Krause Publications. p. 149. ISBN 978-0-89689-516-4. 
  5. ^ Winner's medal for the 1948 Olympic Games in London, Olympic.org. Accessed 5 August 2011.
  6. ^ "Picture of 2004 Athens Games Medal". Retrieved 2010-01-28. 
  7. ^ http://www.onlytrial.com/1/the_honda_logotype_120282.html

References[edit]

External links[edit]