Nike of Samothrace

Michael Lahanas

Νίκη της Σαμοθράκης

That we've broken their statues,
that we've driven them out of their temples,
doesn't mean at all that the gods are dead.
O land of Ionia, they're still in love with you,
their souls still keep your memory.
When an August dawn wakes over you,
your atmosphere is potent with their life,
and sometimes a young ethereal figure
indistinct, in rapid flight,
wings across your hills.
Constantine Cavafy Ionian Song, 1911

Nike of Samothrace, H 2.45 m, Musee du Louvre, Paris, Inv. MA 2369.

The winged Victory, the goddess Nike (Greek word for victory), daughter of the titan Pallas and the river Styx. Nike's other brothers and sisters are Cratos (Strength), Zelos (Zeal) and Bia (Force). Nike was a symbol of victory for ancient Greeks. The Nike of Samothrace, from the Sanctuary of Kabeiroi at Samothrace, Parian marble, probably 190 BC century BC from Pythokritos of Rhodes (There is an inscription “Rhodios” that survived at the base). The Nike was found 1863 by Charles Champoiseau broken into several pieces. Some say it was created around 250 BC or even earlier if it is an donation of Demetrius Poliorcetes for a naval fight in Cyprus victory. More likely it is associated with a victory of the Rhodians at Side against the fleet of Antiochus III the Great commanded by Hannibal. A hand missing was found in 1950 (Fig. right). Another hand was found in 1966 although it is not certain that it is really Nike's hand. Right figure, a colored version of the Nike of Samothrace.

Charles Champoiseau 1863

Nike on the Prow of a Ship (Rhodian marble) with the battering ram. (Louvre Paris, MA 2369 ). The Nike stands on a block on top of the ship but originally she was directly standing on the ship. The type of ship shown is unknown although some consider it a so called Trihemiolia Rhodian trireme who was very flexible using oars of different length. Dimensions: Height: 2.45 Width: 2.35 Length: 4.3.

The Wings of Nike , The Nike in the Louvre Museum

View of the Wings of Nike

Another View

Originally part of an installation that fused natural and artificial elements into a whole. The Nike was part of a monumental fountain that was a thank offering for a victory. Here, you must imagine a 2-tiered fountain set partly in a grotto (or cave) on a cliff overlooking a harbor on the Island of Samothrace. Nike has been flying and just landed very lightly on the bow of a war-ship. Originally her right arm was raised in victory and the illusion was of the ship moving through the water, which also reflected the image of the sculpture. So here was a sophisticated combination of sculpture, moving water and the semi-natural rock setting of the grotto. (Some parts form a Lecture)

Nike, Victory Goddess of Samothrace, Appears in a Tree Bathed in Light, Salvador Dali, around 1977

An example of the misuse of Nike by the military regime in Greece celebrating 1969 the 21 April “victory”.

Stamp from France, Greece and from Paraguay (from Latein Education Highway, Austria)

Nike Postcard and stamp from France

A stamp from Cyprus of a silver tetradrachm of Demetrius Poliorcetes with the Nike on the ship

5000 Drachmae, Greece, 1942

(Image from The Nike shoes symbol “The Nike Swoosh” according to various sources is a representation of a wing of Nike most likely that of the
Nike of Samothrace. Nike's Heritage

The Nike of Paionios in Olympia

The Nike of Delos and the Callimachus Memorial

Sanctuary of the Great Gods on Samothrace
The Nike of Samothrace in Las Vegas
A copy of Nike of Samothrace in Samothrace Another View
Why should Nike fly back from Paris to Greece?
Nike on a Prow (COIN) (Perseus maybe sometimes OFFLINE)
Winged Nike, acroterion of the Stoa of Zeus Eleutherios, c. 415 BC

The Nike of Cyrene (Probably a copy of the Nike on the hand of the giant Athena Parthenos

Greek - Archaic Nike Volant - acroterion figure from Archaic Temple of Apollo at Delphi - ca. 510 BC marble h. 1.13m.
Victory in Flight, 190 BC, Musee du Louvre, Paris

Η νήσος Σαμοθράκη Κ. Γ. Κουρτίδου, Ιστορία της Θράκης (Θράικης ), 1932

Modern versions

Dashi Namdakov bronze, 31 x 18 x 5 cm, 2003

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