Nike of Greek Mythology

In Greek mythology, which goddess had wings and represented victory?

And the answer: Nike.    

No, we're not talking about the shoe brand here – Nike from Greek mythology was a powerful figure who was widely worshipped in Ancient Greece. Ancient Greeks believed that by worshipping her, she could grant them immortal life and superhuman strength (not to mention speed). By pledging their goodwill to her, they felt they could be victorious in any task they undertook.

Photo credit: Krzysztof Dydynski/Getty Images. 

Nike occupied many different roles as a goddess. Her typical attire in paintings, sculptures, and other art media was a flowing gown of gold and wings symbolizing her right to grant victory or to remove it later, should the victor not remain worthy. She was often portrayed carrying a palm branch in her right hand as a symbol of peace, or a wreath to symbolize her readiness to crown a victor in battle. When Nike was pictured with the Staff of Hermes, this indicated that she was serving as a messenger from the gods.

Even though Nike is an ancient figure in Greek mythology, her role as a motivational icon has seldom wavered over time. She remains representative of the tireless pursuit to win or conquer, whether that be in the Olympic Games (Olympic medals have sported Nike bearing her wreath of victory since 1928) or in car brands (Rolls Royce sports a depiction of Nike on their hood ornaments). Further, her "luckiness" has drawn athletes to the Nike brand in abundance (okay, now we're talking about the shoes): many sports stars maintain they owe their success to Nike shoes.

Learn more about the goddess Nike here.

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