The mark of sweet renown — The Orphic Hymn to Nike

O Powerful Victory [Nike], by men desir’d,
 with adverse breasts to dreadful fury fir’d,

Thee I invoke, whose might alone can quell
 contending rage, and molestation fell:

‘Tis thine in battle to confer the crown,
 the victor’s prize, the mark of sweet renown;

For thou rul’st all things, Victory [Nike] divine!
 And glorious strife, and joyful shouts are thine.

Come, mighty Goddess, and thy suppliant bless,
 with sparkling eye, elated with success; 

May deeds illustrious thy protection claim,
 and find, led on by thee immortal Fame.”

Yesterday’s post on Eris got me thinking about the GOALS of strife. And of course, one of the goals of most striving is victory. So, the next logical post was this one.

This is one of the shorter Orphic Hymns and is one of the only ones to NOT ask for peace in some form, which even the Orphic Hymn honoring Ares does. Rather, it specifically glorifies battle because that is where the “mark of sweet renown” becomes known. 

To me that is interesting because of what most people look at as “victory”. Most people look at the “glorious strife” of this hymn as referring to something external, while I see the most glorious as being internal — the struggle with oneself towards arete. It is arete that is the victor’s prize in my opinion. And as such we can all welcome Nike into our hearts.

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