Wednesday, 10 October 2007


After going on, yesterday, about my new Nike AF-1s, I felt the need to tell anyone who thought that Nike only made trainers, that she - and, yes, I did say 'she' - had a quite different career long before she took up making shoes...

In the mythology of Ancient Greece, Nike (Greek: Νίκη), meaning Victory (left) was a goddess who personified triumph - not surprisingly, perhaps, when one recalls that her parents were the warlike Titans, Pallas and Styx (later famous for her River of Death!) and that her siblings were brothers Kratos (strength or force) and Zelus (zeal or rivalry) and sister Bia (violence).

This bunch of divine thugs served as Zeus' attendants and Nike's particular job --- and this is what she got up to before the idea of trainers came to her --- was being chariot-driver for Zeus and the gods.

It is in this role she is often depicted in classical art, often sporting wings symbolizing the all-too fleeting nature of victory.

Here's the girl herself behind the wheel (as it were) transporting Hercules in a chariot drawn by a team of pretty grumpy-looking centaurs...

Clearly she's got her work cut out and obviously transportation problems are nothing new!

Anyhow, the very next time you take a jog in your Nikes --- not that I "do" jogging, you understand --- remember: you are bounding towards victory on the wings of no less a spirit than Zeus' personal charioteer!


Andy J. Latham said...

If Nike rode chariots and had wings, why on earth did she think it necessary to go into the trainer business?

I guess she knew even then that they would be for image rather than function!

Visit Andy's Animation!

Boll Weavil said...

Bet she was dead chuffed to come up with the trainers concept otherwise she's probably still be driving chariots around. Just shows you only need one good idea and you're made !

Qenny said...

So many people think wearing winged sandals is the province only of the gods, despite the fact that they are adorned by the self-same swoosh on their feet. Now they'll know better. They have some remarkably well-preserved representations of Nike in Ephesus. Definitely worth a visit.

I'm sure someone, sometime will tell me that there was a Norse hero called Addid-As, whom Loki tricked into walking over sharp stones, whereupon he sustained three slashes to each of his feet, and found the only way to get through it was to run really fast.


Brian Sibley said...

ANDY, BOLL, QENNY - Excellent stuff, guys! LOL!!