boot, shoe, or other covering for the feet.
The Greeks generally wore some sort of covering for the feet, though it
was not quite unusual for even distinguished people to go barefooted.
Thus it was a rare occurrence when Socrates wore boots (Plat.
174 A), and we hear also how men of means who
lived a simple life, like the orator Lycurgus (Vit. X.
p. 842) and Phocion (Plut. Phoc.
), went bare-footed, as did also those who affected the
austerity of certain philosophic schools (Aristoph. Cl. 103
; Theocr. 14.6; Lucian,
31). The lower orders, too, in a great measure
wore no boots (cf. Lucian. Catapl.
20). It was part of
the training of the Spartan youth to be always barefooted (Xen. Rep. Lac. 2
and Agesilaus did not relinquish the practice even when old (Ael. VH 7.13
). Still, as a general rule, the
Greeks wore shoes, and very particular they were about the fit. It was a
mark of boorishness and so of ridicule to have too large boots (Theophr.
iv.; cf. ἔνεον ἐν
Aristoph. Kn. 321
). Men's boots,
especially those of rustics, had nails in them (Theophr. l.c.
). The usual colour of Greek boots was
either the natural colour of the leather or black, though sometimes we
find red and white boots (see below). The black was produced by a
substance called μελαντηρία
15), which was the same as the atramentum sutorium
(Cic. Fam. 9.2. 1
) of the
Romans. They rubbed on this blacking (περικωνεῖν
) with a sponge, not as we do with a brush (Aristoph. Wasps 600
). There is an
interesting passage in the Cyropaedia
(8.2, 5) which
shows the division of labour in the making of shoes. One man makes them
for men, another for women; and in making a single pair one cuts the
layers for the soles, another fastens these together, another cuts out
the uppers, and a fourth puts the pieces together.
As to the names of boots and shoes they are most numerous (Poll. 7.84 sqq.
); but except in a few cases we cannot fix
with anything like definiteness what were the shapes corresponding to
the names. That there were three main kinds of coverings for the
feet--viz. what we call sandals
in the special sense),
which partially covered the feet, and
which wholly covered them--is quite
certain. (The last two kinds were called ὑποδήματα κοῖλα.
) All we can do here is to give
illustrations of the kinds of boots found represented on Greek vases and
statues; and state, as far as our authorities will allow us, the
peculiarities of the different kinds of shoes not already treated of in
the special articles BAUCIDES, CARBATINA,
COTHURNUS, CREPIDA, EMBAS, ENDROMIS, SANDALIUM.
The illustrations are taken from Guhl and Koner (Das Leben der
Griechen und Römern,
fig. 223). Nos. 1 (statue of
Elpis in Vatican), 2, and 3 (foot of Belvedere Apollo) show the
different sorts of sandals
and methods of
fastening them from the simplest to the most complex kind Nos. 4, 5, and
7 (statue of Demosthenes) exhibit various kinds of shoes
Greek Shoes and Boots. (From Guhl and Koner.)
the foot, while No. 6 is a completely closed boot, and No. 8
is a specimen of the ENDROMIS or top-boot for hunters.
Other names of coverings for the feet not treated of in separate articles
are the following:--
- 1. ἀρβύλη, of cheap workmanship
and material (Poll. 7.86), used on journeys (Aesch. Ag. 945; Theocr. 7.26).
This would point to its being a boot
(cf. Schol. on Eur. Or. 140), though we find it
sometimes appearing to be synonymous with βλαύτια and σάνδαλα
(Anthol. Planud. 306-308). It was also worn
by women as well as men (Eur. Or. 140). The term
ἀρβύλαι is also applied to
holes in the bottom of a chariot in the shape of boots, for the
driver to put his feet into (Eur. hipp.
- 2. βασιλίδες, boots worn by the
Archon Basileus at Athens (Poll. 7.85).
- 3. βλαύται or βλαύτια, light sandals (Poll. 7.87) fastened by
latchets (ἀναγωγεῖς) round the
ankle (Ael. VH 9.11), worn at
banquets (Plat. Symp. 174 A; Hermipp. ap. Ath. 15.668 a), and in the gymnasium
(Ath. 3.98 a).
- 4. διάβαθρον, a kind of Greek
slipper worn mostly by women (Eustath. ad Od. 5.9), but also sometimes by men (Naev. ap. Varr.
L. L. 7.53). Cf. Poll. 7.90.
- 5. ἐμβάται were top boots,
mentioned as being lined with felt even by Hesiod
(Op. 541). They were made of the same leather as
crepidae [CREPIDA], and were
worn by horsemen ἅμα ὁπλον τε κνήμαις
καὶ ποσὶν ὑποδήματα (Xen. Eq. 12, 10), and are mentioned
as being some-times highly adorned (Ath.
12.535 f). Ἐμβάτης
was the strictly Greek name for the tragic buskin which the
Romans called cothurnus [COTHURNUS]. It had
a wooden rectangular sole, and would fit either foot. Pollux
(7.91) appears to be in error when he says that the ἐμβάτης was the shoe of Comedy.
(See the full discussion in A. Muller, Die griechischen
Bühnenalterthümer, pp. 239, 240.)
- 6. εὔμαρις was a Persian slipper
(Eur. Or. 1370) of yellow colour (κροκόβαπτος,
Aesch. Pers. 660), with thick
Anth. Pal. 7.413).
- 7. Ἰφικρατίδες (Alciphr. 3.57),
a military boot called after Iphicrates the general, like our
Wellingtons or Bluchers. Other kinds of boots called after
individuals were Δεινιάδες, Ἀλκιβιάδες,
Σμινδυρίδια, Μυννάκια (Poll. 7.89). We [p. 1.333]hear that the Ἀλκιβιάδες were παρηλλαγμένα, i. e. fitting either foot (Ath. 12.534 c).
- 8. κονίποδες or κονιόποδες, thin light sandals worn by old men (Aristoph. Eccl. 848), so
called because the foot got covered with dust, says the
Etym. M. (s. v.).
- 9. Λακωνικαί or Λακωνικά, a kind of men's shoes
(Aristoph. Thes. 142;
Eccl. 74). They were different from the
ἐμβάδες [EMBAS], and were used
at banquets (Aristoph. Wasps
1158). There appear to have been a finer and a commoner
sort. It is to the former the Scholiast on Aristophanes (Aristoph. Wasps 1158) refers
when he says they were ἀστειοτέραι than the ἐμβάδες, and Photius when he characterises the
Laconian shoe as σεμνόν.
Critias (ap. Ath. 11.483 b) tells
us that the Laconian shoes were the best. They were generally
red (Poll. 7.88), and it was only as
a sign of royalty that the tyrant Lysias of Tarsus wore white
λακωνικαί (Ath. 5.215 c). This finer sort of Laconian shoes was
probably the Ἀμυκλαΐδες or
Ἀμύκλαι (Theocr. 10.35,
and Schol.; Poll. 7.88; Hesych. sub
voce). These Laconian shoes appear to have been actually
made in and imported from Laconia (Aristoph. Wasps 1160), and
not merely to have been so called because that style of shoe was
first manufactured in Laconia, as Pollux (l.c.) says. But there was perhaps a commoner kind,
viz. the ἁπλαῖ, mentioned by
Demosthenes (Con. § 34) as
affected by the austere Laconizers. These were a kind of
Laconian shoe, so called either on account of its simplicity of
manufacture, or because its sole had only a single layer of
leather (Etym. M., and Harpocr. s. v. ἁπλαῖ).
- 10. περιβαρίδες or περίβαρα, women's shoes worn only by
slaves and the lower orders. (Aristoph. Lys. 45; Poll. 7.87, 92.)
- 11. περσικαί or περσικά, cheap (εὐτελῆ, Hesych., Steph. Byz. s. v.) white
(Poll. 7.92) women's shoes (Aristoph. Lys. 229), worn principally by hetaerae
(Poll. 1. c.).
- 12. Πηλοπατίδες, as the name
indicates, similar to the ἀρβύλαι and CARBATINA;
cf. πηλοπατίδες ἀρβύλαι
(Hippocr. Art. 828).
- 13. σικυώνια, soft light women's
shoes (Cic. de Or.
1.5. 4, 231; Lucr.
4.1125). They did not become famous till the latter end
of the Roman republic, though we hear of them earlier (Machon in
Ath. 8.349 e). Other kinds of
shoes called after the names of places were Ἀργεῖαι, Ἀμβρακίδες, Θετταλίδες,
Ποδιακαί, Σκυθικαί (Poll. 7.88, 89; cf.
Thätigkeit, pp. 76, 82, and Index s. v.
- 14. τυρρηνικά, costly sandals
with high rectangular wooden soles. The latchets were some-times
plated with gold (ἐπίχρυσοι).
Phidias is said to have represented Athena as wearing this kind
of shoe; and Pollux (7.93) declares that the ποίκιλος μάσλης Λύδιον κά̀λαν
ἔργον of Sappho (Fr. 19 (83)) refers to the Τυρρηνικά, (See further Hesych. and
Phot. s. v. Πυρρηνικὰ
σανδάλια.) The Tyrrhena
vincula of Verg. A.
8.458 Servius considers were crepidae [CREPIDA].
- 15. φαικάδες or φαικάσια, elegant white Attic shoes
(Appian, App. BC 5.11), similar
to the κονιπόδες (Clem. Alex.
Paedag. 2.11), often adorned with gold (Petr.
67). As Marquardt (Privatleben, p. 576) tells us,
they were worn in Athens and Alexandria by priests and
gymnasiarchs (Plut. Ant. 33;
Poll. 7.90; App. and Clem. Alex. ll.
cc.), also by philosophers (Senec. Benef.
7.21), peasants (Hesych. sub
voce), youths (Petr. 82), women (ib. 67), with the
pallium (Senec. Ep. 113, 1); cf. Mayor on Juv. 3.218.
Besides these, there is a multitude of other names of shoes which Pollux
has collected (7.84-94); but as they are seldom more than mere names,
they need not be touched on here. For Greek shoes generally see
180-183, 195-196; Guhl and Koner, Das Leben der Griechen und
§ 46, ed. 4; Becker-Göll,
), connected etymologically with λάξ,
(Curt., Gr. Et.,
is distinguished as a regular closed boot with a sole and upper from
SOLEA, a mere sandal (Gel. 13.22
), and from CALIGA
which appears to be a boot of which the
upper consisted of a series of thongs letting the foot appear; and, as
being made of tanned hide (aluta
differed from PERO
of untanned hide (Verg. A. 7.690
strictness, it is the special Roman city boot. It and the toga
formed the two peculiarly national features
of Roman costume (Plb. 30.19
, Hultsch; Cic.
5). But in a more extended
sense its cognates calceatus, calceamentum,
are applied to all boots
(i.e. consisting of a sole and upper), even to foreign ones:
is used of the cothurnus
(Suet. Aug. 78
and the soccus
(Plin. H. N.,
36.41): but these terms are not applied to open shoes consisting of a
single sole, like the soleae
19.34, 11). It is in the strict sense of the
word that calceus
is treated of here.
Etiquette prescribed that when a Roman went out in the city he should
wear the toga
and the calcei;
but they were uncomfortable ( “calcei. . .
proprium togae tormentum . . . Quem enim non expediat in algore et
ardore rigere nudipedem quam in calceo vincipedem,” says
), and gladly dispensed with when
the Roman was rusticating (Mart. 1.49
). They were not worn in the house, and that
Augustus did so is noticed as a peculiarity (Suet. Aug. 73
too, wore them (Varr. L. L.
9.40; Ael. Var.
7.11), but not slaves, who had, at least in the country,
wooden shoes (sculponeae,
Cato, Cat. Agr. 59
). Women's calcei
were naturally thinner than men's, and of very
various colours (hederacei, cerei,
49), but generally white (Ov. A. A.
3.271; Apul. Met.
2.11, p. 240, ed. Potter). Clement advises women,
when walking on the roads, to use rustic thick-soled boots (καττύματα
) with nails. (For such boots, see
p. 182, n. 7.)
High soles were sometimes worn, to give the wearer an appearance of
being taller than he really was (Suet. Aug.
Certain differences of rank were marked by different kinds of boots;
indeed Zonaras (7.9
) says that the plebeians
during the Republic in no wise differed from the patricians (εὐπατρίδαι
) except in their boots. And in
the Edict of Diocletian we find the maximum prices of three different
kinds of calcei
fixed: viz. calcei
denarii, about three shillings and nine pence (this value depends on the
very difficult question of the value of the Diocletian denarius. The
view adopted is that of Hultsch, Metrologie,
p. 333, note
3, who fixes it at 2 1/2 Pfennige; but Waddington,
p. 2, fixes it at 6 1/3 centimes );
at 100 denarii (=2s.
); calcei equestres
at 70 denarii (=1s.
). Besides these,
there were probably the calcei
ordinary Roman citizen. We must now consider each of these classes
The calceus patricius
was a red-coloured
boot; hence also called mulleus,
colour of the fish (mullus,
19.34, 10). True, Festus (pp. 142-3,
Müller) says it is derived from mullare
(=to stitch); but, as Heuzey remarks (in Saglio's Dict.
p. 818), the derivation from mullus
better the adjectival ending in -eus
the Roman practice of denominating differences in colour from common
objects (cf. cereus, hederaceus
). In this
same passage Festus tells us that in ancient times this kind of boot was
worn by the kings of Alba, and afterwards by the patricians ; and he
quotes Cato, Orig.
vii.: “Qui magistratum curulem
cepisset calceos mulleos †alutaciniatos [aluta laciniatos
(Müller), vinctos (Mommsen), cinctos or consutos (Heuzey)],
ceteri perones.” But Festus is not quite accurate. Though
called calcei patricii,
they were not worn
by all patricians nor by all patrician senators. It is only late
writers, such as Zonaras (l.c.
), Isidore (l.c.
), and Scholiast on Juv. 7.192
, who say so; but this view has the support of
i.2 408). Nor were
they worn by patricians only. Their use was really confined to curule
magistrates, and that too only on great public occasions, in this
respect like our orders, such as the Garter. They were part of the
triumphal apparel; and so, on the occasion of the dedication by Marius
of the temple erected to Honor and Virtus out of the Cimbrian spoils, he
wore the triumphal robe and the patricii
(C. I. L.
i. p. 291, and Mommsen ad loc.
). Yet Marius was no patrician. It was
made a reproach to Caesar, that after his triumph he entered the senate
with such boots on (D. C. 43.43
). In the
2nd century A.D. the lucky Quintilian. who was neither curule magistrate
nor patrician, got the right of wearing them (Juv.
); and also Vettius Crispinus, a mere child (Stat. Silv. 5.2
), and the son of Herodes Atticus
(C. I. G.
6280 B, 23 sqq.
obtained the same privilege. They did so in virtue of the grant of
of one of the curule
magistracies, which was a function of the senate, rather than in virtue
of the adlectio,
which was a privilege of
the emperor (Willems, Le Sénat,
&100.1.126, note 3). For the grant of the ornamenta
generally, see Mommsen, Staatsr.
The fact is, the calcei patricii
were formerly the insignia of the kings
of Alba, of the Roman kings, and later of the patrician
(i. e. curule) magistracies; but when the curule
magistracies were opened to the plebeians, the latter got the right of
wearing the patrician insignia of these magistracies. (See Willems, l.c.
) This is
why they are called patricii,
not that any
particular modification of this kind of boot was, after very early
times, confined to the patricians, as is the view of Mommsen in more
than one passage (Staatsr.
1.408, note 1;
1.255, note 7; C. I.
i. p. 291).
In the Flavian era and subsequently, there is no doubt that they are
generally mentioned with a certain irony, as a sign of ostentation in
upstarts; but that does not prove, as Heuzey thinks, that it was not
expected of curule magistrates (and those who had the ornamenta
of them) that they should wear this kind of
boot on state and official occasions. Aurelian (Vopisc.
49) is said to have put a stop to their use; but
they reappear in the Edict of Diocletian. It may be remarked that in old
classical French, and in the provinces still, mules
) is used for
slippers or goloshes. In modern classical French it and its cognates in
Italian and Spanish are used for the Pope's shoe on which there is a
cross. See Littré s. v.
The boot was of tanned leather (aluta,
Lyd. de Mag.
32), with hooks (malleoli,
19.34, 10) on the
upper (superiors parte
). These hooks Heuzey, and
apparently Mommsen (R. F.
1.255, note 6), suppose to be
if so, they must have been on
the ankle. But more probably they were on the instep, and the lunula
was a mere ornament. To these hooks were
fastened four (Isid. Orig.
19.34, 4) black leather (Juv. 7.192
) straps (corrigiae,
Cic. de Div. 2.4. 0
§ 84; lora patricia,
11, 9), which were wrapped
crosswise (Zon. 7.9) round the calf of the leg, half-way up to the knee.
But we do not find these hooks on any certain Roman calceus,
though the arrangement of bands in the
accompanying figure of a patrician
Calceus of a Patrician Youth. (From a statue in the
youth from a statue in the Louvre seems to represent a hook
(ap. D. and S. p. 817). More generally, two of the corrigiae
were inserted at the juncture of the sole and
the upper, very broad at the base, but getting narrower, and fastened on
or a little above the instep, after being wrapped once round the leg.
The other band was higher and wrapped several times round the leg. The
knots in which these bands were fastened were in front; and the
extremities of the bands hung down sometimes to near the ground. The
boots resembled the cothurni,
in having a
high sole (Isid. l.c.;
Acron on Hor. Sat.
1.6, 86), but we cannot suppose that the
sole was as high as in the latter. On the outside of the ankle to one of
the black bands was affixed an ivory ornament in the shape of a crescent
2.1, 18), called
(Isid. and Juv. ll. cc.
), and by
Suidas (s. v. χλαμύς
) the Roman kappa.
The popular explanation was that the original
wearers were the hundred (C) senators chosen by Romulus; but it was
probably of the nature of an amulet, like the bulla
of children; for the Romans were superstitious with
regard to their shoes (Cic. de
Div. 2.4. 0
, 84; Suet. Aug.
. See Heuzey, p. 818; Marquardt, Privatl.
574). There is no certain representation of the calceus patricius
containing the lunula;
for the example given by Balduinus and reproduced
by Rich (s. v. Luna), Heuzey says, is very late, and we do not know
whence it is derived. Moreover it has the lunula
on the instep and not on the ankle. But there are many
which reproduce in essentials the shape and arrangement of the boot and
the bands; and two specimens of these are given, which are taken from
Patrician Calcei. (From Baumeister.)
That the calceus senatorius,
or boot of the
ordinary senators, differed from that of the curule magistrates, may be
considered certain, from Apuleius, Flor.
1.8. It seems, however, to have resembled the calceus
in every respect, except that it had not the
( “hac lunula nam adsuta
calceis discernuntur patricii a noviciis,” Schol. on Juv. 7.192
: cf. Marquardt,
593 ; Mommsen, Staatsr.
note 1). It had certainly black bands (Hor. Sat.
1.6, 86); but it does not seem quite clear of what
colour the boot itself was. Willems (Le Sénat,
1.124, note 2) and Göll (Gallus,
3.234) think the shoe was black, on the not very strong support of Lyd.
1.17 (who is talking of the CAMPAGUS
), the Schol. on
is probably relative to the time of the Scholiast
himself), and the à priori
that if the colour were not black, Horace (l.c.
would have mentioned it. Mommsen (l.c.
that to assume that the shoe was black rests on a confusion of the shoe
and the bands. The distinct statements of Cato and Martial (2.29
), he says,
make for the colour being red. But in these two passages it is the
which is spoken of.
On the basis of the Schol. to Juv. 7.192
quoted above, it may appear best to suppose that the calceus senatorius
differed from the calceus patricius
only in having the luna,
and so was red in colour; but really no decisive
answer can be given. This boot was worn when the senator appeared in
public, especially at sittings of the senate; Milo, for example (Cic. Mil. 10
, § 28), on returning
from the senate, changes his boots. Lange (Röm.
ii.2 373) thinks this special
senatorial boot dates from the 7th century A.J.C. Cato, as we saw above, says that in his time the senators
The calceus senatorius
different from that of other ranks. Cicero (Cic. Phil. 13.13
, 28) speaks of a certain Asinius who
“saw the senate-house open after the death of Caesar, got new
boots (mutavit calceos
), and forthwith
became a senator.” And the strict division which subsisted,
both under the Republic and Empire, between the senatorial and
equestrian rank and career, gives us reason to suppose that the calceus equester
was a distinct kind of boot,
especially as we find it mentioned in Diocletian's Edict. We have,
however, in the Louvre the statue of a certain Canius, who was, it
appears, the procurator quattuor publicorum
which was an equestrian office (ap. D. and S., p.
Calceus of a Procurator of Africa. (From a statue in the
If we can regard his boot as the calceus
it. will be seen that it was a genuine boot, with no
bands, and that it was composed of two pieces. We can say nothing about
Somewhat different were the boots of the ordinary citizens, which do not
seem to have gone so high up over the ankles, and which had a piece of
leather extending from the side of the boot by which it was fastened
over the instep. This piece of leather was called lingula
is shown in the first illustration (see p. 332, No. 5). It was called
from its likeness to a
projecting tongue (Fest. p. 116, Müll.; cf. Pollux, 2.109), not
“to bind” (Charis. p. 104, Keil). To leave these untied was
a mark of haste (ligulas demittere,
). They were also used as handles
(Schol. on Juv. l.c.
). As we are specially told
by Scribonius Largus (Comp. Med.
208) that these lingulae
were blackened, we may perhaps conclude
that the rest of the boot was of the colour of ordinary leather. For the
see Plin. Nat. 34.32
An explanation may now be offered of the difficult lines of Martial,
“Non hesterna sedet lunata lingula planta,
laesum pingit aluta pedem.”
(The upstart who was yesterday a simple citizen, wearing the ordinary
uncomfortable common kind of boots with a lingula,
to-day has got the ornamenta
of a curule magistracy, and wears the red calcei patricii,
which are adorned with a
and which do not pinch his
feet.) [p. 1.336]
In later times we read of great extravagance and vulgar ostentation in
the matter of boots, silk-work being embroidered on them, and, after the
manner of the Easterns, gold (Cassiod. Var.
jewels (Plin. Nat. 9.114
) being let
into them (Lampr. Heliog.
For general information on the subject of calceus,
see especially Heuzey in Daremberg and Saglio, s.v.
Willems, Le Sénat de la
1.123-132, 653-4; Marquardt,
Das Privatleben der Römer,
Blümner in Baumeister's Denkmäler des
Guhl and Koner, Das Leben der Griechen u. Römer,
649, ed. 5.