Nike of Paionios

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Nike of Paionios
Nike of Paionios, Olympia Archaeological Museum (16309967616).jpg
Year425–420 BC
MediumParian marble
Dimensions198 cm (78 in)
LocationArchaeological Museum of Olympia

The Nike of Paionios is an ancient statue of the Greek goddess of victory, Nike, made by sculptor Paionios in 425–420 BC. Made of Parian marble, the statue was restored from many fragments, but is lacking face, neck, forearms, part of left leg, toes and some fragments of drapery. It also had wings. The goddess is shown landing gently on her left foot, with the drapery blown against her body.

The statue was excavated at Olympia in 1875–76 and originally stood near the temple of Zeus on a triangular 6-metre high pillar.[1] Including the pillar, the statue stood at 12 metres.[2] It has the inscription "The Messenians and the Naupaktians dedicated this statue to Zeus Olympios from the spoils of the wars. Paionios of Mende made it, who also won the competition to make the acroteria of the temple".[1] That indicates the statue was installed to honour the recapture of Sphacteria from the Spartans in 425 BC.[1]

Through Greek mythology, it tells how the Nike of Paionios carries her himation, while she wears a chiton. The goddess is represented in descending flight, positioned upon a triangular pedestal about thirty feet high, she seems all but independent of support. Her draperies, blown by the wind, form a background for her figure. An eagle at her feet suggests the element through which she moves. It is said to inspire the sense buoyancy, speed, and grace. In the 2004 Athens Olympic medals the front side of the medal presents the statue of Nike Paionios with ancient Olympia in the backdrop, while the other side of the medal features the eternal flame framed by the first verse of the eighth Olympic Hymn (Olympic Anthem) by Pindar along with the logo of the Athens Games.[3]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c "Nike of Paionios". University of Cambridge Museum of Classical Archaeology Databases. Retrieved 20 March 2017.
  2. ^ "Olympia Nike of Paionios (Sculpture)". Perseus Project. Retrieved 20 March 2017.
  3. ^ The victory column in Olympia: The Nike of Paionios