Goddess of victory
Stone carving of the goddess Nike at the ruins of the ancient city of Ephesus
|Symbol||golden sandals, wings, wreaths|
|Parents||Pallas and Styx|
|Siblings||Kratos, Bia, Zelus|
The word νίκη nikē is of uncertain etymology. R. S. P. Beekes has suggested a Pre-Greek origin. Others have connected it to Proto-Indo-European *neik- (“to attack, start vehemently”), making it cognate with Greek νεῖκος (neikos, "strife") and Lithuanian ap-ni̇̀kti ("to attack").
And Styx the daughter of Ocean was joined to Pallas and bore Zelus (Emulation) and trim-ankled Nike (Victory) in the house. Also she brought forth Cratos (Strength) and Bia (Force), wonderful children.
In other sources, Nike was described as the daughter of Ares, the god of war.
Ares ... O defender of Olympos, father of warlike Nike (Victory).
Nike and her siblings were close companions of Zeus, the dominant deity of the Greek pantheon. According to classical (later) myth, Styx brought them to Zeus when the god was assembling allies for the Titanomachy against the older deities. Nike assumed the role of the divine charioteer, a role in which she often is portrayed in Classical Greek art. Nike flew around battlefields rewarding the victors with glory and fame, symbolized by a wreath of laurel leaves (bay leaves).
Nike is seen with wings in most statues and paintings, with one of the most famous being the Winged Victory of Samothrace. Most other winged deities in the Greek pantheon had shed their wings by Classical times. Nike is the goddess of strength, speed, and victory. Nike was a very close acquaintance of Athena, and is thought to have stood in Athena's outstretched hand in the statue of Athena located in the Parthenon. Nike is also one of the most commonly portrayed figures on Greek coins. After victory at the Battle of Marathon, Athenians erected the Nike of Callimachus.
Names stemming from Nike include among others: Nikolaos, Nicholas, Nicola, Nick, Nicolai, Niccolò, Nikolai, Nicolae, Nils, Klaas, Nicole, Ike, Niki, Nikita, Nikitas, Nika, Nieke, Naike, Niketas, Nikki, Nico, and Veronica.