Who is Nike in Greek Mythology?

Updated: January 12, 2023
Nike is the goddess of victory in Greek mythology. She was a constant companion of Athena and often represented in art as a small winged figure.
Detailed answer:

Nike was one of the most important Olympian deities in ancient Greece, who represented victory and triumph over obstacles. She is often depicted hovering over athletes in her role as their protector, inspiring them to victory with her presence alone. Other times she would appear as a winged figure flying above them with outstretched arms, holding laurel branches in each hand as if offering them victory.

According to Greek mythology, Nike is closely associated with Athena: Athena sprang fully grown from Zeus’s head after he swallowed her mother Metis (“wisdom”). In some versions of this story, Nike was born at roughly the same time as Athena; in other versions, she is born later.

In some versions of Greek mythology, Nike took over for Pallas after he died in battle against the giant named Porphyrion; in other versions, she did not replace him but simply fought alongside him until victory over Porphyrion was achieved.

She was one of the most popular deities in ancient Greece and was often depicted on Greek coins and sculptures.

There are many myths about how she came to be known as “victory” (nikê). One story says that Zeus wanted to reward his son Heracles for his heroic deeds by giving him anything he desired; but Heracles did not wish for wealth or power or anything else that Zeus could offer him except one thing: nikê! He simply wanted something that would always help him win against any enemy who stood against him, so Zeus granted his son.

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