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Headword: Νίκη Ἀθηνᾶ
Adler number: nu,384
Translated headword: Nike Athena, Athena Nike
Vetting Status: high
Lycurgus in the [speech] On the priestess [sc. mentions her].[1] That the xoanon of Nike, wingless, holding a pomegranate in her right hand and a helmet in her left, was worshipped by the Athenians Heliodoros the Periegete has shown in the first book of his On the Acropolis.[2]
Alternatively [she stands] allegorically for the notion that even winning is completely dependent on thought; for thought contributes to victory, but being thoughtless and impetuous while fighting leads to defeat.[3] When she has wings she symbolizes that aspect of the mind that is sharp and, so to speak, swift-winged; but when she is depicted without wings she represents that aspect of it that is peaceful and quiet and civil, that by which the things of the earth flourish, a boon of which the pomegranate in her right hand is a representation. Just as the helmet in her left [is a representation] of battle. Thus she has the same capability as Athena, having power over opposites.
Greek Original:
Νίκη Ἀθηνᾶ: Λυκοῦργος ἐν τῷ Περὶ τῆς ἱερείας. ὅτι δὲ Νίκης Ἀθηνᾶς ξόανον ἄπτερον ἔχον ἐν μὲν τῇ δεξιᾷ ῥοιάν, ἐν δὲ τῇ εὐωνύμῳ κράνος, ἐτιμᾶτο παρ' Ἀθηναίοις, δεδήλωκεν Ἡλιόδωρος ὁ περιηγητὴς ἐν πρώτῳ περὶ Ἀκροπόλεως. ᾗ ἀλληγορουμένῃ εἰς φρόνησιν ἐπακολουθεῖ πάντως καὶ τὸ νικᾶν: φρόνησις μὲν γὰρ νικητικόν, ἀφρόνως δὲ μάχεσθαι καὶ προπετῶς σφαλερόν. αὕτη πτερὰ μὲν ἔχουσα τὸ κατὰ νοῦν δηλοῖ ὀξὺ καὶ ὡς εἰπεῖν ὠκύπτερον: ἄπτερος δὲ γραφομένη τὸ κατὰ εἰρήνην ἡσύχιον ἐμφαίνει καὶ πολιτευτικόν, καθ' ὃ τέθηλε τὰ περὶ γῆν, οὗ δὴ ἀγαθοῦ ἔμφασις ἡ κατὰ τὴν δεξίαν ῥοιά, ὥσπερ μάχης τὸ ἐν τῇ ἀριστερᾷ κράνος, ἵνα οὕτω δύναμις εἴη καὶ ἡ Ἀθηνᾶ ὡς τἀναντία ἰσχύουσα.
The first and principal paragraph here derives from Harpokration s.v. (The second is a marginal addition in ms. M.)
[1] Lycurgus fr. 41 Sauppe (VI.13 Conomis).
[2] FGrH 373 F2.
[3] cf. Etymologicum Magnum 605.54.
Keywords: art history; botany; food; geography; historiography; imagery; military affairs; mythology; religion; rhetoric; women
Translated by: William Hutton on 9 February 2001@14:55:05.
Vetted by:
David Whitehead (modified translation; added notes; cosmetics) on 10 February 2001@08:24:56.
David Whitehead (added keywords) on 20 December 2002@05:25:41.
David Whitehead (augmented notes and keywords; tweaks and cosmetics) on 12 July 2011@09:31:07.
David Whitehead (coding) on 19 May 2016@05:05:37.


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