Nike (mythology)
In Greek mythology
Greek mythology
Greek mythology is the body of myths and legends belonging to the ancient Greeks, concerning their gods and heroes, the nature of the world, and the origins and significance of their own cult and ritual practices. They were a part of religion in ancient Greece...

, Nike was a goddess
A goddess is a female deity. In some cultures goddesses are associated with Earth, motherhood, love, and the household. In other cultures, goddesses also rule over war, death, and destruction as well as healing....

 who personified victory
Victory is successful conclusion of a fight or competition..Victory may refer to:**strategic victory**tactical victory** Pyrrhic victory, a victory at heavy cost to the victorious party**Victory columns**Victory Monuments**Victory personified...

, also known as the Winged Goddess of Victory. The Roman equivalent was Victoria
Victoria (mythology)
In ancient Roman religion, Victoria was the personified goddess of victory. 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...

. Depending upon the time of various myths, she was described as the daughter of Pallas
Pallas (son of Crius)
Pallas is a Titan, associated with war, killed by Athena in the contest to fight for Zeus . Most sources indicate that he was the son of Crius and Eurybia, the brother of Astraeus and Perses, and the husband of Styx. He was the father of Zelus, Nike, Kratos, and Bia. In addition, he has been named...

 (Titan) and Styx
In Greek mythology the Styx is the river that forms the boundary between the underworld and the world of the living, as well as a goddess and a nymph that represents the river.Styx may also refer to:-Popular culture:...

 (Water) and the sister of Kratos (Strength), Bia
Bia (mythology)
In Greek mythology, Bia was the personification of force, daughter of Pallas and Styx. She was the sister of Nike, Kratos, and Zelus; she and her siblings were constant companions of Zeus. They achieved this honour after supporting Zeus in the war against the Titans along with their mother...

 (Force), and Zelus
In Greek mythology, Zelus was the son of Pallas and Styx. Zelus and siblings Nike , Kratos and Bia were winged enforcers who stood in attendance at Zeus' throne and formed part of his retinue....

 (Zeal). Nike and her siblings were close companions of Zeus
In the ancient Greek religion, Zeus was the "Father of Gods and men" who ruled the Olympians of Mount Olympus as a father ruled the family. He was the god of sky and thunder in Greek mythology. His Roman counterpart is Jupiter and his Etruscan counterpart is Tinia.Zeus was the child of Cronus...

, 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 chariot
The chariot is a type of horse carriage used in both peace and war as the chief vehicle of many ancient peoples. Ox carts, proto-chariots, were built by the Proto-Indo-Europeans and also built in Mesopotamia as early as 3000 BC. The original horse chariot was a fast, light, open, two wheeled...

eer, a role in which she often is portrayed in Classical Greek art. Nike flew around battlefields rewarding the victors with glory and fame.
Nike is seen with wings in most statues and paintings. 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
In Greek mythology, Athena, Athenê, or Athene , also referred to as Pallas Athena/Athene , is the goddess of wisdom, courage, inspiration, civilization, warfare, strength, strategy, the arts, crafts, justice, and skill. Minerva, Athena's Roman incarnation, embodies similar attributes. Athena is...

, and is thought to have stood in Athena's outstretched hand in the statue of Athena located in the Parthenon. Nike is one of the most commonly portrayed figures on Greek coins.

Names stemming from Nike include amongst others: Nicholas
Nicholas or Nikolas is a male given name, derived from the Greek name Νικόλαος , a combination of the words for "victory" and "people" . The name can be understood to mean victory of the people or "power of the people"...

, Nicola, Nick, Nicolai, Nikolai, Nicolae, Nils, Klaas, Nicole, Ike, Niki, Nikita, Nika, Niketas, and Nico.

In popular culture

  • The fictional character Sora is nicknamed Nike after the Greek goddess of victory in the Japanese manga series Air Gear
    Air Gear
    is a shōnen manga written and illustrated by Ito "Oh Great" Ōgure. Air Gear revolves around the life of Itsuki Minami "Ikki", also known as "Baby Face", "Lil Crow", and his friends. The story follows their use of Air Treks, an in-universe invention derived from inline skates...

  • The shoe and sports equipment company Nike, Inc.
    Nike, Inc.
    Nike, Inc. is a major publicly traded sportswear and equipment supplier based in the United States. The company is headquartered near Beaverton, Oregon, which is part of the Portland metropolitan area...

     is named after the Greek goddess Nike, as was Project Nike
    Project Nike
    Project Nike was a U.S. Army project, proposed in May 1945 by Bell Laboratories, to develop a line-of-sight anti-aircraft missile system. The project delivered the United States' first operational anti-aircraft missile system, the Nike Ajax, in 1953...

    , an American anti-aircraft missile system.
  • A figure of Nike with a vessel was the design of the first FIFA World Cup
    FIFA World Cup
    The FIFA World Cup, often simply the World Cup, is an international association football competition contested by the senior men's national teams of the members of Fédération Internationale de Football Association , the sport's global governing body...

     trophy, known also as the Jules Rimet trophy.
  • Since Giuseppe Cassioli
    Giuseppe Cassioli
    Giuseppe Cassioli was an Italian painter and sculptor most famous for his Summer Olympic Games medal design.-Biography:...

    's design for the 1928 Summer Olympics
    1928 Summer Olympics
    The 1928 Summer Olympics, officially known as the Games of the IX Olympiad, was an international multi-sport event which was celebrated in 1928 in Amsterdam, Netherlands. Amsterdam had bid for the 1920 and 1924 Olympic Games, but had to give way to war-victim Antwerp, Belgium, and Pierre de...

    , the obverse face of every Olympic medal bears Nike's figure holding a palm frond in her right hand and a winner’s crown in her left.

  • In Tera Lynn Childs' young-adult novel Oh. My. Gods.
    Oh. My. Gods.
    Oh. My. Gods. is a 2008 young adult fantasy novel by Tera Lynn Childs. It revolves around a girl named Phoebe Castro, who is a distance runner. When her mom returns from Greece with a fiancé, Phoebe is not sure she will fit in at the new exclusive academy she gets sent to. All the students there...

    , the main character is a direct descendant of the goddess Nike.
  • In The Darkest Prison by Gena Showalter
    Gena Showalter
    Gena Showalter is an American author in the genres of contemporary romance, paranormal romance, and young adult.Showalter sold her first book at the age of 27, and has published over 25 books. She has been named by The New York Times and USA Today as a bestselling author...

    , the Greek Nike, a guard of Tartarus
    In classic mythology, below Uranus , Gaia , and Pontus is Tartarus, or Tartaros . It is a deep, gloomy place, a pit, or an abyss used as a dungeon of torment and suffering that resides beneath the underworld. In the Gorgias, Plato In classic mythology, below Uranus (sky), Gaia (earth), and Pontus...

     who is the embodiment of strength, fell in love with the Titan Atlas
    Atlas (mythology)
    In Greek mythology, Atlas was the primordial Titan who supported the heavens. Although associated with various places, he became commonly identified with the Atlas Mountains in north-west Africa...

    , her male equivalent, when he was a prisoner at Tartarus.
  • A statue of Nike can be also seen in Warsaw
    Warsaw is the capital and largest city of Poland. It is located on the Vistula River, roughly from the Baltic Sea and from the Carpathian Mountains. Its population in 2010 was estimated at 1,716,855 residents with a greater metropolitan area of 2,631,902 residents, making Warsaw the 10th most...

    , Poland. It was built in 1964 to protect the capital of Poland.
  • On the emblem of the University of Melbourne
    University of Melbourne
    The University of Melbourne is a public university located in Melbourne, Victoria. Founded in 1853, it is the second oldest university in Australia and the oldest in Victoria...

    , the goddess also appears.
  • She is depicted on the front of the World War II Victory Medal (United States).

External links

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