History 2701 Wiki

Winged Victory of Samothrace

Winged Victory of Samothrace []

The Winged Victory of Samothrace was found in 1863 by Frenchman Charles Champoiseau.The Statue is of Nike, who was the goddess of Victory in greek religion. The statue is believed to be made in 190 B.C.E. as a comemoration to a Rhodian victory in a sea battle.  [1]

Technical Evaluation

The statue itself is damaged from its original likeness, with marks of repair and restoration from around 130BCE and later times. [lehman 1955,89]. The statue is missing its head, both of its arms and its right wing. Smaller fragments that cannot be reattached such as her left hand are on display in the Louvre [Palagia 2010,156]. The base of the statue is the bow of a ship carved in Lartian marble, which, is common on the island of Rhodes, so it is possible that the marble for the base was brought to Samothrace from Rhodes by sea [Palagia 2010,156]. The body of Nike herself is made of marble, and she was constructed in Samothrace [Lehman 1955,89]. Charles Champoiseau who was a French console to the Ottoman Empire excavated the statue of Nike in 1863, He shipped the statue in pieces back to the louvre in 1864 and it was restored and completed by 1880 [Palagia 2010, 154].

Local History Context[]

The Winged victory of Samothrace is a depiction of the Greek Goddess of victory Nike [[1]] . Nike the Goddess is one of the many forms of Athena who is a goddess of war (strategy). Nike is the embodiment of victory in sports and on the battlefield [Lenardon 2011, 185]. This statue was a part of the “great gods” cult sanctuary, which was open to all visitors to come and worship the major Greek gods how they saw fit [lehman 1955 21]. It is unsure for who the statue was made for. The common belief is that it was made to commemorate a sea victory of the city of Rhodes over Antiochus the great in 190 BCE, however there are some who believe that the Nike was made to honor King Philip the fifth after he took control of the Island of Samothrace [Palagia 2010,160].

World History Context[]

This statue of Nike in Samothrace is one of many statues of Nike all over Hellenistic culture, one of the most splendid of these representations was the statue of Nike at Olympus. Now gone the statue was made of marble and gold and rested in the right hand of a larger Athena statue [Lenardon 2011, 180]. In the city-state of Athens all women had equal opportunity to become a priestess of Athena Nike because of her relation the cities founding goddess Athena [Sissa 2000,217]. There are very few early renditions of Athena in Greek art before she is depicted as Athena with wings. The popularity of Nike in Greek art and religion increases when she is eventually linked to Athena [Farnell 1896 312]. In order for the Louvre to acquire the hand of Nike from the Samothrace museum, they had to trade many marble pieces including a slab of dancers [Palagia 2010, 159]. The Samothrace Nike was influential in the design of the ship monument of Cyrene, and also believed to inspire the design of the Iconography at the “Hieron”, a holy building also located on the island of Samothrace [Palagia 2010, 161].[]


Mark Morford, Robert Lenardon, and Michael Sham,Classical Mythology ,(New York: Oxford University Press , 2011),180-185.

Olga Palagia, and Bonna D. Wescoat, Samothracian Connections , (Oxford: Oxbow Books, 2010), 152-162.

Karl Lehmann, Samothrace , (New York: New York University Press , 1955), 21/89.

Lewis Richard Farnell, The Cults of The Greek States, (Oxford : The Clarendon Press, ), 312.

Giulia Sissa, and Marcel Detienne, The Daily life of the Greek Gods, (Stanford: Stanford university Press , 200), 217.

http://www.louvre.fr/en/oeuvre-notices/winged-victory-samothraceagraph of your page here.