Thursday, 29 August 2013

Tour: Iconography

The coat-of-arms of Nimes shows a crocodile and a palm tree.  The Office de Tourisme provides a good explanation:
To understand the origin of the town’s coat of arms one has to travel to Egypt. In 31 BC, Octavius defeated Anthony and Cleopatra’s fleet in the battle of Actium, and ensured Roman control of the Empire. Caesar Augustus was born. 
A coin was struck in Nîmes to celebrate the event. On the reverse side was a crocodile chained to a palm tree surmounted by a laurel wreath, symbolizing the conquest of Egypt.
The inscription “Col Nem”, the Colony of Nîmes, suggests that victorious legionaries had been granted land near Nîmes. But in fact Nîmes was simply the place where the coin was minted. Over the centuries, the people of Nîmes became attached to these relatively common coins. 
In 1535 they were authorized by king François 1 to adopt the palm tree and the crocodile as the town’s coat of arms. Since then the inhabitants have been extremely proud of their crest. 
Redesigned in 1986 by Philippe Starck, it can be found all over the town, even in the bronze studs set in the paving of the old town.
This mural is directly above the Lacoste shop in Nimes.

And of course Lacoste logo is a crocodile, and since Lacoste originated in Nimes, it seems reasonable to suggest a connection.

However there is another story, which is that Rene Lacoste, the founder of the company, was nicknamed 'the crocodile' by the American sporting press.   "partly due to his infamous bet with the Captain of the French Davis Cup team. The Captain had promised to give Rene a beautiful crocodile skin suitcase if he wins a very important team match." - at least according to FamousLogos.

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