Nike (Victory)

From a verly early date, the Greeks represented concepts such as Peace, Fortune, Vengeance and Justice as goddesses. Victory is one of the most ancient of these incarnations.

She is portrayed as a female figure with large wings to fly everywhere spreading news of a victory, whether in an athletic contest or in battle. She is a messenger (angelos in Greek), who sometimes blows a trumpet to make her message heard. As she flies, she brings the victor the insignia of victory: a crown, fillet (headband), palm branch, trophy of arms or naval trophy. On her return to earth, she takes part in the libation or sacrifice made by the victor to thank the gods.
An extremely decorative figure, Victory appeared widely in Greek art in a variety of forms (statues, reliefs, vessels, coins, and terracotta and bronze figurines) from the Archaic period (6th century BC) onwards.

  1. Nike (Victory) of Delos, National Archaeological Museum, Athens

  2. Bell krater, the Sysiphus Painter, 5th century BC, Musée du Louvre, Paris

  3. Red-figured neck-amphora, the Libation Painter, 4th century BC, Musée du Louvre, Paris

  4. Tetradrachm (four-drachma coin) showing Demetrios Poliorcetes, 3rd century BC, Cabinet des Médailles, Bibliothèque Nationale de France, Paris

  5. Nike (Victory), 2nd century BC, Myr 165, Musée du Louvre, Paris

  6. Nike (Victory), 2nd century BC, Myr 171, Musée du Louvre, Paris

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