Nike, the Greek Goddess of Victory
Nike is the Greek Goddess of Victory. During Ancient Greek times, she was much revered by soldiers and warriors. However, her sphere of worshippers spread far beyond the military. She was called on to help people be victorious in everything from athletic contests to business and politics.
Nike was much loved amongst the Roman people. Although, to them she was called Victoria. The Romans spent much of their time expanding their empire and prayed for victory often. They opened many temples to their Goddess of Victory in Rome and other countries they conquered.
Nike is the daughter of a Titan and an Oceanid, Pallas and Styx. She has three powerful siblings Bia, Zelos and Kratos. They are Deities of force, rivalry and strength. Despite her parentage, Nike fought on the side of Zeus and the Olympians during their battle against the Titans. It was her essence of victory that helped the Olympians win the war and gain control of Olympus and Earth.
Nike is seen as a beautiful athletic winged woman, usually holding a laurel and a palm branch. In most of the Greek legends, she is in the company of other Gods, particular Zeus and Athena. She had many temples throughout Greece, yet her main temple, which is still there today, was in Athens.
Nike was very much connected to the Olympics. Greek legend says that Zeus would send her to Earth to crown the victors of the games. There is a statue of Nike in the Museum of Olympia. It was created in 421 BC by a famous sculpture of that time, Paeonios. The statue is almost ten feet tall and is awe inspiring in her appearance of descending from the higher realms. Even during recent times, Nike has been honoured at the Olympics. From the year the games were renewed, 1896 to 2002 Nike was featured on one side of the medal giving to winning athletes.
Today, the Goddess Nike is still worshipped by some, especially those who are followers of the Hellenic Neo-Pagan way. As times changed, so did the perceptions of the Gods. Nike became more related to victory and good luck in gambling and games than with battles and athletics. She became much like the Roman Goddess Fortuna. Nike is a strong Goddess, one that represents strength in character and strong will, unlike the Goddess Fortuna she is stern in her favours and quick to take them away.