Victoria (mythology)

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Victoria on top of the Berlin Victory Column
(cast by Gladenbeck, Berlin)[1]

Victoria, in ancient Roman religion, was the personified goddess of victory.[2] She is the Roman equivalent of the Greek goddess Nike, and was associated with Bellona. She was adapted from the Sabine agricultural goddess Vacuna and had a temple on the Palatine Hill. The goddess Vica Pota was also sometimes identified with Victoria. Victoria is often described as a daughter of Pallas and Styx, and as a sister of Zelus, Kratos, and Bia.[3]

Unlike the Greek Nike, the goddess Victoria (Latin for "victory") was a major part of Roman society. Multiple temples were erected in her honor. When her statue was removed in 382 CE by Emperor Gratianus there was much anger in Rome.[4][5] She was normally worshiped by triumphant generals returning from war.[2]

Also unlike the Greek Nike, who was known for success in athletic games such as chariot races, Victoria was a symbol of victory over death and determined who would be successful during war.[2]

Victoria appears widely on Roman coins,[6] jewelry, architecture, and other arts. She is often seen with or in a chariot, as in the late 18th-century sculpture representing Victory in a quadriga on the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin, Germany; "Il Vittoriano" in Rome has two. Nike or Victoria was the charioteer for Zeus in his battle to over take Mount Olympus.

Winged victories[edit]

Winged figures, very often in pairs, representing victory and referred to as "victories", were common in Roman official iconography, typically hovering high in a composition, and often filling spaces in spandrels or other gaps in architecture.[7] These represent the spirit of victory rather than the goddess herself. They continued to appear after Christianization of the Empire, and slowly mutated into Christian angels.



  1. ^ "Oscar Gladenbeck (1850-1921)". Retrieved 18 June 2015. 
  2. ^ a b c "Victoria". Retrieved 5 August 2015. 
  3. ^ "Nike". Retrieved 5 August 2015. 
  4. ^ Sheridan, J.J., "The Altar of Victory – Paganism's Last Battle." L'Antiquite Classique 35 (1966): 187.
  5. ^ Ambrose Epistles 17–18; Symmachus Relationes 1–3.
  6. ^ "All About Gold". Retrieved 5 August 2015. 
  7. ^ "Winged Victoria Spandrels". Retrieved 5 August 2015. 

See also[edit]

External links[edit]