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Cast of Nike of Paionios

Nike of Paionios, from Olympia, c 425-421 BC, cast

The winged goddess Nike (Victory) is flying in to land on top of a tall triangular pillar. At the same time, an eagle passes beneath her feet. The figure was made of Parian marble, by the sculptor Paionios of Mende. It was found fallen from its base in front of the temple of Zeus, where the traveller Pausanias had seen it in the mid second century AD. The speed of her descent presses the thin dress of Victory against her body. This was a favourite motif among Greek sculptors in the late fifth century. The triangular pillar was 8.80m tall and carried the following inscription: The Messenians and Naupaktians dedicated (this) as a tithe from their wars to Olympian Zeus. Paionios of Mende made it. Paionios also won the competition to make the akroteria for the temple.

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