Talaria (Latin: talaria, Ancient Greek: πτηνοπέδιλος; πτερόεντα πέδιλα) are winged sandals, a symbol of the Greek messenger god Hermes (Roman equivalent Mercury). They were said to be made by the god Hephaestus of imperishable gold and they flew the god as swift as any bird. The name is from the Latin talaria, neuter plural of talaris, "of the ankle".
The talaria are mentioned in Homer, who describes them as ἀμβρόσια χρύσεια / ambrósia khrýseia, ("immortal/divine and of gold"). However, he does not mention wings; those first appear in the Shield of Heracles, which speaks of πτερόεντα πέδιλα / pteróenta pédila, literally "winged sandals." Later authors repeat this characteristic, for instance in the Orphic Hymns XXVIII (to Hermes).
Perseus wears them to help him slay Medusa. According to Aeschylus, Hermes gives them to him directly. In a better-attested version, Perseus must retrieve them from the Graeae, along with the cap of invisibility and the kibisis (sack). However, Perseus sees poorly because Hermes does not have his own sandals, nor Hades his own helmet.
In popular culture
In Rick Riordan's fantasy-adventure novel The Lightning Thief, the Talaria is in the form of sneakers instead of sandals. To activate them the wearer must say "Maia". They are used by Grover Underwood.
In Henry David Thoreau's novel Walden, Chapter 10: "With his horizon all his own, yet he a poor man, born to be poor, with his inherited Irish poverty or poor life, his Adam's grandmother and boggy ways, not to rise in this world, he nor his posterity, till their wading webbed bog-trotting feet get talaria to their heels."
- EADS Talarion an unmanned air vehicle named after Talaria.
- Gantz, 541.
- Homer, Odyssey, V, 44.
- Pseudo-Hesiod, Shield of Heracles, 220.
- I, 583 and II, 730.
- Gaius Julius Hyginus, Fables (LXIV) and Nonnus, Dionysiaca, (XIV, 270).
- Aeschylus, The Phorkides, fr. 262 iv, v Radt.
- Pherecydes of Leros, 3F11 Fragmente der griechischen Historiker, and the Bibliotheca (Pseudo-Apollodorus), II, 4, 2.
- Gantz, 542.
- Riordan, Rick (July 1, 2005). The Lightning Thief. United States Of America: Puffin Books Disney-Hyperion. ISBN 0-7868-5629-7.
- Timothy Gantz, Mythes de la Grèce archaïque, Belin, 2004, p. 541-543.
- Media related to Talaria at Wikimedia Commons