O Muse, grant me the eloquence to explain what I feel, think, and decide in my journey. And grant others the ability to make sense of the rambling.

Sunday, 15 July 2012

PBP: N - Nike


NIKE (or Nicé) was the winged goddess or spirit (daimon) of victory, both in battle and peaceful competition. When Zeus was gathering allies at the start of the Titan War, Styx brought her four children, Nike (Victory), Zelos (Rivalry), Kratos (Strength) and Bia (Force) into the service of the god. Nike was appointed his charioteer, and all four were appointed as sentinels standing beside the throne of the god. Beyond this Nike never acquired any distinctive mythology of her own.

Nike was depicted in ancient Greek vase painting with a variety of attributes including a wreath or sash to crown a victor, an oinochoe and phiale (bowl and cup) for libations, a thymiaterion (incense burner), an altar, and a lyre for the celebration of victory in song.

In scenes of the Gigantomachia (War of the Giants) she often appears driving the chariot of Zeus. In mosaic art and coins Nike is often shown holding a palm branch as a symbol of victory.

Nike was closely identified with the goddess Athena, sometimes appearing merely as an attribute of the goddess. Sometimes the goddess was pluralised into Nikai.

Temple of Athena Nike - Parthenon, Athens

I don't know exactly why I have a thing for Nike, she's only supposed to be a personification but she sticks in my mind. I've not thought much about how victory relates to my life, though I do find myself being rather competitive on occasion. I remember passing the temple of Athena Nike on my visit to the Parthenon and it was quite unremarkable in relation to the main temple, but I suppose it's the magic of the little details.

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