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Nike

Tales beyond belief

Nike for kids
Discover the myths surrounding Nike, the ancient Greek winged goddess of Victory, strength and speed who flew around battlefields rewarding the victors with glory and fame. She was also a patron of various games and competitions and is often pictured rewarding athletes and heroes and pictures with a wreath of a laurel leaves.

She is often confused with the goddess Athene as their depictions in Greek art were similar, can be easily recognized by her large, graceful wings that indicated her status as a goddess and her power of speed and flight.

Who was Nike?
Nike was the Greek goddess of Victory and one of the extraordinary number of gods and goddesses worshipped by the Ancient Greeks. The legend and myth about Nike has been passed down through the ages and plays an important role in the history of the Ancient World and the study of the Greek classics. Nike was descended from the Titan dynasty of Greek gods and was the daughter of the Titan Pallas, and of Styx, the goddess of the river of that name in the
Underworld. Although she was originally identified with victory on the battlefield she became to be recognized as a mediator and patron of athletes who competed in the Greek games. Nike was one of the city gods and a temple was erected to her on the Acropolis at Athens, which can still to be seen today.

Facts about Nike
Nike features in the religious beliefs of the ancient Greeks which are based on the idea that these supernatural beings resembled mortals but possessed great magical and mystic powers. The following information, facts and profile provides a fast overview of Nike:

  • Greek Name: Nike, the goddess of Victory, strength and speed

  • Role & Function: Her function was to reward the victors in battle

  • Status: A Minor goddess, a descendent of the Titans

  • Symbols: Large wings, wreath of laurel leaves, palm-branch, a large shield on which she inscribed the names of victors in battle

  • Gender: Female

  • Roman Counterpart: The Roman name for Nike was Victoria

  • Name of Husband: Unmarried

  • Name of Father: Pallas

  • Name of Mother: Styx

  • Names of Children: None

Nike (Roman Counterpart was Victoria)
When the Roman Empire conquered the Greeks in 146BC, the Romans assimilated various elements from other cultures and civilisations, including the gods and goddesses that were worshipped by the Ancient Greeks. Many of the Greek gods and goddesses, such as Nike, were therefore adopted by the Romans but were given Latin names. The Roman counterpart of Nike was Victoria.

The Symbols of Nike
Each ancient Greek god and goddess were associated with special symbols, animals and attributes. The Symbols of Nike helped the ancient Greeks instantly recognize the gods and goddesses that were depicted in the pictures, mosaics, statues and images. The symbols of Nike were large, elegant wings, a wreath of laurel leaves or a trophy, palm-branchand a shield and their meanings were as follows:

  • The Shield

    • The large shield on which she inscribed the names of victors in battle

  • Wings

    • Her wings symbolized the power of speed and flight

  • The Laurel Wreath

    • The laurel wreath was give to a victor in athletic competitions

  • The Palm branch

    • The palm branch was a symbol of triumph and victory. Champions of the games and celebrated military successes were rewarded with palm branches

Gods and Deities
Greek Gods and Goddesses

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