Talaria | Winged Shoes

Talaria Greek Mythology

In Greek mythology, talaria (from Latin: talaria, neuter plural of talaris, meaning "of the ankle"), winged heel-straps or sandals are one of the attributes of Hermes.

Talaria are attested as early as Homer, who refers to them as ἀμϐρόσια χρύσεια / ambrósia khrúseia ("immortal/divine and golden"):

"[Hermes] tied under his feet his divine sandals, which embroidered with beautiful gold, carry him over the waves and the boundless earth, fast as the wind."

However, the wings are not mentioned in the poet's work. We have to wait for that until The Shield of Heracles, which first speaks of πτερόεντα πέδιλα / pteróenta pédila, literally "winged sandals ". Later authors all take up this characteristic.

A natural attribute of the god, they also play a role in the myth of Perseus, since the hero puts them on before going to fight Medusa. In Aeschylus, Perseus is equipped directly by Hermes.

However, in a better attested tradition, the hero must retrieve the sandals from the Greeks with the kunea and the kibisis. But as Timothy Gantz points out, it is difficult to see why Hermes did not have his own sandals with him, nor Hades his own helmet.