Whether ancient or modern, symbols of victory have been hugely significant. These symbols have long been associated with ideologies, entities, events, and struggles. Some of these symbols are present across multiple cultures.
Let’s take a look at the top 15 symbols of victory and their significance:
Table of Contents
1. Feng-Shui Horse
Throughout history, horses have been considered symbols of victory, high rank, and wealth. The Feng Shui victory horse is a revered and auspicious symbol that represents success, loyalty, speed, and perseverance.
If you want to maintain a good reputation and divert success and mobility towards you, you can keep the Feng-Shui victory horse in your home.
The Ancient Chinese held horses in very high esteem, almost equivalent to dragons. They believed horses exuded strong yang energy. Yang energy was known to be active, fast, and bright, as opposed to Yin energy was passive, dark, and slow.
In Asian art, galloping horses also became a symbol of speed, endurance, and perseverance. Asian paintings often show a motif of 8 galloping horses together in a herd. (1) (2)
2. V sign
The V sign with the palm facing inward refers to Victory. This Victory sign is usually done during a competition or during wartime. This sign became popular in the 1940s by Belgian politician Victor de Laveleye, who was in exile.
He suggested there should be a symbol of victory, and the BBC launched a campaign ‘V for Victory’ soon after. The victory sign can also be made with hands raised upwards, as was commonly done by the US presidents Richard Nixon and Dwight Eisenhower.
The Victory sign is also usually done by counter-culture groups and is avidly used to signify peace as well. The symbols linked to peace originated in the 1940s when it was used to signify the end of the war. (3)
3. The Victory Banner
The Victory Banner is one of the eight Tibetan religious art symbols. These symbols are usually used as a symbolic representation of the transient nature of the universe. The Victory Banner implies the victory of knowledge over ignorance.
It signifies the importance of enlightened teachings and how important they are in order to attain happiness and success.
The Thunderbird is a mythical creature of North American legend. It was an important part of the culture and history of the regions’ indigenous people. The Thunderbird was a supernatural being with great strength and power.
The Thunderbird symbolizes many things. It was a representation of power, strength, and protection. It was believed that the thunderbird dominated and controlled all-natural activity. It created rainstorms and made it possible for vegetation to grow.
It also controlled prosperity and success. Only the most successful and victorious of all chieftains were allowed to adorn the thunderbird crest. The Thunderbird was distinguished from the eagle due to the curved horns and plumage present on its head.
The Native Americans regarded the Thunderbird as a poignant symbol of victory and success. (4)
5. St. George’s Ribbon
The Ribbon of St. George is a Russian military symbol. It consists of three black and two orange stripes. It was created as an awareness symbol to commemorate the veterans of WW2 that were on the eastern front. St. George’s ribbon became a popular symbol in Russia and was also linked to victory day, which was the 9th of May.
A well-known patriotic symbol, St George’s ribbon, became one way to show support to the Russian government. St. George’s ribbon was originally known as the Georgian ribbon and was a part of the Order of St George in 1769.
This was the highest military decoration in all of imperial Russia. Russian President Boris Yeltsin re-established it in 1998 in a presidential decree. (5)
6. Laurel Wreath
The Laurel Wreath was made from the circular leaves of the bay laurel. The bay laurel is an evergreen shrub with a pleasant scent. The laurel wreath symbolizes triumph for the ancient Romans.
The Romans adopted this symbol from the Greeks, who they looked up to and also admired their culture.
The Greeks used the laurel wreath to symbolize victory. It was often worn by Greek emperors in battle or by military commanders. (6) Later on, the Laurel Wreath got linked to academia.
For the past two centuries, graduates have been wearing the Laurel Wreath upon their graduation. Today the Laurel Wreath still avidly symbolizes Victory and peace. (7)
During the Hindu festival of Diwali, little lamps or ‘Diyas’ are lit in order to symbolize victory over evil and to welcome good into life. The diyas mark the victory of truth over falsehood, knowledge over ignorance, and hope over despair.
These lamps also symbolize the outward celebration of life. During Diwali, in India, people buy new outfits and participate in the festival of lights by buying lamps and lighting them in their homes.
Symbolically, Diwali is also celebrated on the day of the new moon, which is a time of darkness everywhere. The earthen lamps metaphorically light out this darkness. Lighting these lamps also means dispelling all vices, such as anger or greed. (8)
8. Helm of Awe
The Helm of Awe symbol was used by the Nordic people, especially Norse women. It was popularly drawn with spit or blood. The Helm of Awe signified dominance within a conflict, victory over defeat, and the ability to cause fear in others.
It was one of the most mysterious and powerful symbols of Norse Mythology. (9) (10) In the Viking era, it was common for warriors to wear symbols between their brows. It was believed that the symbol, similar to the dragon Fafnir, would enable them to attain victory in battle.
It was believed that the Helm of Awe provided mental and physical protection (11)
9. Tiwaz Rune
The Tiwaz Rune is named after ‘Tyr,’ the Northern god of justice and law. Within Anglo-Saxon rune poems, Tyr is also linked to the North Star. Tyr was the god with one hand who tricked the wolf Fenris into becoming chained.
But in order to do so, he had to sacrifice his hand. The rune Tiwaz simply means victory of the law, indicating what is right. So,in order for one to rule justly, one has to make self-sacrifices. Tiwaz can help one make positive self-sacrifices.
It will help balance the scales correctly in order to make a fair and balanced decision. (12)
10. Palm Branch
In the Mediterranean world or in the ancient Near East, the palm branch symbolized victory, triumph, and peace. Within Mesopotamian religions, the palm was considered sacred. In ancient Egypt, the palm also represented immortality.
In Christianity, the palm branch is linked to the triumphant entry of Jesus to Jerusalem. The Gospel of John states that people took palm branches and went out to meet Jesus. Within Christian iconography, the palm branch also represents victory. It symbolizes the victory of the spirit over the flesh.
Within the Islamic faith, the palm is said to be linked to paradise and also signifies peace within the realm of the faith. (13)
The eagle has been hugely significant throughout history. It has remained a symbol of valor, victory, power and royalty in numerous cultures and mythologies. It has continued to represent strength and courage throughout the ages.
In the Greek golden age, the eagle was a symbol of victory and great energy. The eagle also represented the triumph of good over evil. They depicted the eagle with its wings stretched out, holding a serpent in its claws.
The Romans also viewed the eagle as a symbol of victory. When Roman legions conquered lands, Roman armies marched under the banner of the eagle. The golden eagle represented the Roman Empire itself, while the silver eagle represented the republic.
When the United States of America was created in 1782, the eagle came to represent it as well. Today, the eagle is a symbol of power and authority in America and has been used on the emblems of various presidents and vice-presidents.
12. Trophy Cup
A trophy cup has been the standard symbol of victory for many years. Ever wondered how it came to represent victory? Originally, when enemies were defeated in war, tokens were taken from them as trophies.
During the Roman Empire, the Romans loved creating architectural trophies such as columns, fountains, and arches that symbolized their victory. Over time, even though the concept of a trophy lost its violent undertone, it remained a concept of achievement and triumph.
Trophies were also transformed into peaceful symbols of triumph and victory in sports competitions such as the Olympics. In the early Olympic competitions, the laurel Wreath was given to the winners to signify victory.
With time, trophies fashioned out of precious metal replaced this tradition. (14)
It symbolizes that as this bird re-emerges from ashes, a person can also fight back against his adversaries and emerge victorious from them. This symbol gives hope that no matter how bad the circumstances are, a person can overcome them.
14. A Ship’s Wheel
A ship’s wheel can be symbolic of many things. It can represent victory and the achievement of goals. It emphasizes finding direction in life and making the right choices.
A ship’s wheel can also mean molding your own pathway in life and being responsible for your actions. If you love adventure, travel, and discovering new places, this symbol is also an adequate representation of you.
At times, the ship’s wheel can also represent leadership, clarity, and responsibility. The ship’s wheel got this meaning because the wheel provides direction to sailors when out at sea.
The wheel also represents the journey itself. It also stands for discovery, navigation, opportunity, and destiny. (15)
15. Red Color
The red color symbolically represents victory. Researchers have also suggested that wearing red also increases the chance of being victorious in sports competitions.
Several scientists conducted research at the University of Durham in England and determined that athletes who wore red won competitions at least 55% of the time. (16) But this does not mean wearing red will simply make you start winning.
Red is the color of blood, fire, excitement, heat, passion, and intensity; hence it is a powerful color. It may be one of the most powerful colors in the color spectrum. The emotions and vitality it releases in you enhance your chances of a win. (17)
Victory has been an essential concept since time immemorial. Many cultures and mythologies have represented victory through various different symbols.
Which of these Top 15 Symbols of Victory were you already aware of? Let us know in the comments below.
- Zelinsky, Nathaniel (18 March 2011). “From Churchill to Libya: How the V symbol went viral”. Washington Post.
- Anatoly Korolev and Dmitry Kosyrev (11 June 2007). “National symbolism in Russia: the old and the new”. RIA Novosti.
- . https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/life-style/the-significance-of-diyas-at-diwali/articleshow/71741043.cms#:~:text=Diyas%20symbolise%20goodness%20and%20purity,angerm%20greed%20and%20other%20vices.
- Nigosian, Solomon A. (2004). Islam: Its History, Teaching, and Practices. Indiana University Press.