Nike - The Goddess Of Victory - 4.8 out of 5 based on 5 votes

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Nike is now mostly known as a famous sports brand, but in ancient times the Goddess Nike was the “goddess of victory,” both in war and sports. The Greeks called her Nike, and the Romans called her Victoria.

The Louvre in Paris has her most famous representation, which returned to public view this summer after almost one year of cleaning:

Nike Goddess of Victory

Winged Victory of Samothrace, Astier Marie-Bénédicte c.200 BC, Louvre Museum, Paris

Winged Victory of Samothrace, c.200 BC, Louvre Museum, Paris — Photo by AP

Nike can also be seen on many Greek vases:

nike goddess of victory

Oil flask with “Nike,” c. 490 BC, Harvard Art Museums, Cambridge

nike the goddess

Detail of vase with “Nike Pouring a Libation at an Altar,” c.470 BC, Tampa Museum of Art — Source: theoi.com

Nike / Victoria often holds a laurel wreath, the reward of winners:

goddess of victory

Statue of Zeus / Jupiter holding Nike, c.1st century, Hermitage Museum, Saint Petersburg — Photo by George Shuklin

Berlin Victory Column, 1873, — Photo by wiki user Ailura

Because she represents speed and victory, Nike has inspired many logos, including the “swoosh” of the sports brand that bears her name, which is a stylized drawing of her wing, and the “Spirit of Ecstasy” figure on the hood of Rolls-Royce cars, which is based on the Louvre statue.

Nike Goddess

Charles Sykes, Spirit of Ecstasy, 1911 — Photo by Jill Reger

Nike The Goddess is also the origin of many first names, such as Nicholas and Nicole, Veronica, Victoria, and all their variations.

So if you see an image or statue representing a winged female figure holding a laurel wreath, it’s probably Nike, the goddess of victory, whose name survives in many forms.