). The word
is chiefly associated with
tragedy, and among the Romans was the name given to the tragic boot. But it
is to be carefully borne in mind that among the Greeks the tragic boot was
not so called. The Greek term used was occasionally ὀκρίβας
1.9, 1), but more usually ἐμβάτης
(Lucian, Jup. Trag.
16). A distinction is said
to subsist between ἐμβάτης,
boot, and ἐμβάς,
the comic one (Ammon. p.
49; Thom. Mag. p. 300); and again the distinction is said to be that
is the tragic boot and ἐμβάτης
the comic one (Poll. 4.115). But the
latter distinction certainly cannot be sustained, for ἐμβάδες
is often used for the comic boot (e. g. Arist.
321) and ἐμβάτης
for the tragic one (Lucian, Salt.
27); and even the former is
very questionable, for in Bekk. Anecd.
is used of the tragic buskin (cf.
p. 106, note). Among the
Greeks the κόθορνος
was a kind of closed
(in distinction to sandals
) worn by women, which could fit either foot (hence the
nickname of Κόθορνος
given to Theramenes,
Xen. Hell. 2.3
, and the proverb εὐμεταβολώτερος κοθόρνου
), and had rectangular soles
524, 40). In Herodotus (6.126
) it was the kind of boot put on by Alcmaeon when he was
allowed to take as much gold as he could carry out of the treasury of
Croesus; and was also the kind of boot which Croesus advised Cyrus to compel
the Lydians to wear, in order to make them effeminate (Hdt. 1.155
). The cothurnus is called by Ovid
3.1, 14), and in this connexion it
is to be remembered that τυρρηνικὰ
rectangular wooden shoes [CALCEUS
]. In Aristophanes, too, the κόθορνος
is a woman's boot (Lys.
346, cf. 319; and especially Ran.
47), apparently of such a nature that the foot could be easily slipped into
346). The generic name for such a boot seems to
have been ἐμβάτης
(ἀπὸ τοῦ ἐμβαίνειν τοὺς
333, 54); and [p. 1.558]
is specially applied by the
Greeks to a top-boot reaching up to the calf of the leg and worn by hunters
(Xen. Eq. 12
, 10; cf.
Poll. 5.18). The term κόθορνος
in Greek is
not used in this sense ; but cothurnus
is often applied to the hunter's boot (Verg. Ecl.
1.341, and Servius ad loc.
), the species coming to be used for the genus, both
agreeing in the quality of being easily slipped on. The correct Greek term
for the hunting boot is ENDROMIS
In Roman times cothurnus
also takes the place of
as applied to the tragic boot
(e. g. Ovid. Am.
2.18, 15; Tert. Spect.
It was a closed boot, but its special characteristic was the great height of
its soles (Ov. Am. 3.1
; Senec. Ep.
76, 31), and accordingly the term
is applied to the very high-soled boot of a small woman (Juv. 6.506
). The actors were perched up on painted
(Ov. Am. 2.18
; Wieseler, Denkm. des Bühenwesen,
7 and 8) wooden (Schol. ad
19) blocks, which we can well believe were
heavy (Lucian, Anach.
23), which were, as may be seen from
Cothurnus. (Daremberg and Saglio.)
the accompanying cut, probably six or seven inches high, and from
which he had to “get down” (καταβάς
) at the end of the performance. The object was to give
the principal characters a grandiose and superhuman stature. The less
important actors had lower-soled boots, and we find pictures of actors with
soles of different heights to their buskins (Saglio, fig. 2032; cf. Cic.
3.14, 46). The statue of Melpomene on
the sarcophagus of the Muses in the Louvre (Saglio, fig. 2028) wears two
cothurni of different heights. The cothurnus being such a salient point of
tragic costume, it came to be used for “tragedy,” or
“tragic style” generally (e. g. Hor. A. P.
80 ; Od. 2.1
). In the Satyric drama the heroic characters most probably wore
the high-soled boot, as Wieseler (Satyrspiel,
supposes, though A. Müller (Die griech.
p. 242) thinks they adopted the hunter's boot. From
analogy with the huntsman's boot, we might infer that the tragic boot came
considerably up the leg; but we cannot verify this from pictures, and it is
at variance with a statement of Lucian's (Gall.
26) that when
an actor with ἐμβάδες
on fell the naked
legs were exposed. The boots most probably did
not come above the ankle. The uppers appear to have been made of leather;
the huntsman's ἐμβάτης
(Xen. Eq. 12
, 10), and
the woman's κόθορνος
in Aristoph. Lys. 658
which leads us to suppose that they
were usually of leather. Cothurni do not appear on some pictures of actors
found at Pompeii; so that we may infer that they were not always used. For
other theories based on their absence, see A. Müller, op. cit.
The chief works on the subject are Becker-Göll,
3.280 ff.; Sommerbrodt, Scaenica,
pp. 192-197; A. Müller, Die
and Pottier in Daremberg and Saglio's Dict. des
s. v. Cothurnus.