Nike, the Greek goddess of victory, may originally have been considered an aspect of the goddess Athena* rather than a deity in her own right. According to the Greek writer Hesiod*, Nike was the daughter of the river Styx and the Titan Pallas. Zeus* honored her for helping him win the battle of the gods against the Titans. The Romans knew Nike as Victoria and considered her the protector of the Roman senate.
deity god or goddess
Titan one of a family of giants who ruled the earth until overthrown by the Greek gods of Olympus
Nike was usually shown as a small figure carried in the hands of Zeus or Athena. As the goddess of victory, she appeared as a winged figure holding a laurel wreath above the heads of those
*See Names and Places at the end of this volume for further information.
who won competitions. However, in her identity as Athena Nike, she was portrayed without wings.