Victoria (Greek Counterpart was Nike)
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 therefore Victoria.
Facts about Victoria
The following information, facts and profile provides a fast overview of Victoria, the goddess of victory:
Roman Name: Victoria, the goddess of Victory
Role & Function: Her function was to reward the victors in battle
Status: A Minor goddess, a descendent of the Titans
Symbols: The symbols of Victoria were large wings, wreath of laurel leaves, palm-branch, trophies from defeated enemies, a large shield on which she inscribed the names of victors in battle
Greek Counterpart: The Greek counterpart for this goddess was Nike
Name of Husband: Unmarried
Name of Father: Pallas
Name of Mother: Styx
Names of Children: None
Victoria, the Roman goddess of victory
The Roman goddess of victory, was connected with the victors of war, who she was believed to be able to determine. She was a favorite amongst Roman generals returning from war. Successful Roman military leaders returned from a victorious battle would be awarded the honor of a 'Triumph', a triumphal procession, or parade celebrating the glory of the returning general through the cheering crowds on the streets of Rome. The Romans called this ritual a “triumph” because the victorious troops cried “io triumpe” as they marched through the streets. The conquering hero rode in a gilded chariot led by white horses wearing a tunica covered in palm leaves, under an gold embroidered, red toga, with his face painted red. The face of the triumphator was painted with red paint to imitate the red-painted face of the statues of Mars, the god of war or Jupiter, the King of the gods. Victoria was a symbol of victory over death and her role was to to reward the victors in battle. The Emperor Augustus had an altar to the goddess Victoria installed in the senate building, the Curia Julia, with a statue of the winged Victoria, called a victoriola, symbolically standing with one foot on a globe. A victoriola was given to a victorious general and symbolized a gift of victory and was highly prized for the renown it bestowed on its owner.
Festivals and Gladitarial Games in honor of Victoria
The Roman army fought either to increase the territories of the Roman World or to protect them from attack and the goddess Victoria became a symbol of military success and regarded as a protector of the Roman Empire. A temple on the Palatine Hill in Rome was dedicated to Victoria and in the Republican era she was honored in the Festival of Honos (honor) on July 17 and another festival held on August 1. Gladiatorial games were also held in her honor. On July 20 Games were held to honor victories of Caesar and the goddess Victoria and between 26 October - 1 November Sulla's Victory Games were celebrated in honor of Victoria.
The Worship of Victoria, the Roman goddess of victory
The Romans were highly practical and believed that their gods and goddesses controlled everything in their lives and therefore every occupation and task had its presiding Roman goddess or god. Victoria the Roman goddess of victory was worshipped in the same way as any other Roman divinity with prayers and making vows, dedicating altars, sacrificing animals, birds and offerings of milk, honey, grain, fruit, cakes, flowers, perfumes and wine. White animals were sacrificed to the goddesses of the upper world, like Victoria, whereas black victims to the deities of the Underworld. The sex of a sacrificial animal had to correspond to the sex of the goddess to whom it was offered. The blood sacrifices made to Victoria, the goddess of victory, would therefore have been a white ewe, cow or heifer, sow, hen or other female birds and conducted outside a temple.