introduction

CALIGULA (37-41 CE), the Roman Emperor who retained into adulthood the nickname ‘Little Boots’ given to him as a child, was well known for his eccentricities. These extended to his clothing and footwear. According to the writer Suetonius (Life of Caligula 52), in this area as elsewhere he flouted the customs of his country, of his fellow citizens, and even of his sex. He often appeared in public in bejewelled cloaks, bracelets and silky dresses. Sometimes he would have Greek sandals (crepidae) or actors’ platform shoes  (cothurni) on his feet, sometimes military boots (caligae) or women’s slippers (socci muliebres). These items might be topped off with a golden beard and a thunderbolt or trident.

Actors’ shoes and Greek sandals would have been seen as oddities, and military boots, acceptable on a toddler growing up in an army camp, would have looked outlandish on a head of state. But the sensibilities of the Roman upper classes would have been most offended by the women’s slippers, which would have marked Caligula out as decidedly queer.

A Roman caliga, excavated near Xanten, where Caligula’s father Germanicus and his family were stationed during military campaigns in Germany. RömerMuseum, Landschaftsverband Rheinland.

 

Like the sober and respectable Marcus Aurelius, who became Emperor over a hundred years later, what Caligula ought to have been wearing on his feet on state occasions was his calcei,  leather shoes fastened with straps which covered most of the foot and ankle, and sometimes extended as far as the calf. If a man was dressed in a toga, then beneath it he should have put on a respectable pair of calcei.

Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek, Copenhagen

                                    Lazzaro Baldi, The Assassination of the Emperor                                       Caligula. Galleria Spada, Rome

Shoes, like other items of clothing, serve to articulate our class, status and gender. Though Caligula was a rich and powerful ruler, he couldn’t get away for long with trampling over the protocol and dress codes of the senatorial class to which he belonged. For the Romans, as for most of us today, garments shaped and advertised their individual and group identities. Transgressing the boundaries of those identities can make us look original and creative, but it can also arouse disapproval, ridicule and enmity. Dressing in army boots cut no ice with members of Caligula’s praetorian bodyguard. Some of them were soon conspiring with a group of senators, and at the age of twenty-nine Caligula and his wife and daughter were cut down by a couple of swordsmen inside the imperial palace.

L  Baldi,

On this page I shall be exploring the meaning of shoes in the context of power relations in the Roman world.  The evidence is provided chiefly by literature and inscriptions, and by visual media (sculpture, wall paintings, mosaics, and a host of smaller objects, such as coins), but we also have some real shoes. Most Roman footwear was made from leather, and we are fortunate in that the dampness of the soil in some of Rome’s northern territories – in Britain, the Netherlands and Germany – has helped to preserve quite a large number of shoes. These furnish us with solid data. Literature and art, on the other hand, can be fanciful. Did the Emperor Hadrian, for example, really appear in public in shoes with decorative lionskin attachments? We can only hope that he did.

Burdur Museum, Sagalassos, Turkey

   shoe types

SANDALS , SHOES, BOOTS: MAIN TYPES UNDER EACH HEADING

Before the shod foot came the bare one.  In Roman Syria shoelessness might be a mark of poverty, as we would expect. And if we’re to believe the satirist Lucian, the Cobblers’ Children Syndrome (a craftsman so busy he has no time to make anything for his family) could infect the man himself and not just his offspring. In his comic essay Cataplus, or The Voyage to the Underworld, a shoemaker called Micyllus is one of a group of recently deceased people being escorted across the Styx by the god Hermes. As we hear in this extract , the divine conductor of souls is puzzled by Micyllus’s relaxed attitude to his hopeless situation. 

Her. Why, Micyllus, have you never an Oh or an Ah? It is quite improper that any shade should cross the stream, and make no moan. Mi. Get along with you. What have I to do with Ohs and Ahs? I’m enjoying the trip! Her. Still, just a groan or two. It’s expected. Mi. Well, if I must, here goes.— Farewell, leather, farewell! Ah, Soles, old Soles!— Oh, ancient Boots!— Woe’s me! Never again shall I sit empty from morn till night; never again walk up and down, of a winter’s day, naked, unshod, with chattering teeth! My knife, my awl, will be another’s: whose, ah! whose? Her. Yes, that will do. We are nearly there. (Kat 20) Gods and heroes Rich and poor See Juvenal Men and women Slaves and foreigners Cobblers come naturally to mind when intellectuals and elites look forces of low professions tise medicine. De methedo medendi Lucian sees all this as a comedy, Cataplus, or voyage to the Underworld: juxtaposes shoemaker Micyllus w cruel and rapacious rler Megapenthes, who keeps sneaking off to try to return to land of living. Micelles relishes erasure of all dustinctions that matter in the upper world: ‘Bless me, how dark it is . All complexions are alike here, no question of beauty, greater or less. The cloak I used to think shabby passes muster here as well as royal purple. The darkness hides both of them’ (Cataplus 22) Hermes puzzled by his relaxed attitude. Her. Why, Micyllus, have you never an Oh or an Ah? It is quite improper that any shade should cross the stream, and make no moan. Mi. Get along with you. What have I to do with Ohs and Ahs? I’m enjoying the trip! Her. Still, just a groan or two. It’s expected. Mi. Well, if I must, here goes.— Farewell, leather, farewell! Ah, Soles, old Soles!— Oh, ancient Boots!— Woe’s me! Never again shall I sit empty from morn till night; never again walk up and down, of a winter’s day, naked, unshod, with chattering teeth! My knife, my awl, will be another’s: whose, ah! whose? Her. Yes, that will do. We are nearly there. (Kat 20) HERE   martial claimed that, in their leisure time and in the more relaxed surroundings of rural life, hardly anyone used it by the early imperial period.[4] Senators and higher ranking priests were likewise expected to wear the mulleus or “red calceus” (calceus mulleus) along with their red-edged toga praetexta while engaged in their public duties. Festus claimed the mulleus was originally used by the kings of Alba Longa before being adopted by the patricians.[8] Cassius Dio states that the patrician shoes were originally marked with the letter R,[9] although early forms of Latin used an R closer in shape to the later P. Francis X. Ryan has offered that this class distinction in footwear—rather than procedural status—may have been responsible for the name of the backbencher senatores pedarii.[2] Cato the Elder stated that, by the end of the Republic, plebs who had reached curule office were entitled to the formerly patrician footwear.[8] Plebeian generals like Marius who celebrated a triumph were likewise permitted to wear them.[10] Talbert states that by the imperial era there is no conclusive evidence that footwear continued to differ between the classes as a whole,[11] possibly because the emperors began to restrict the use of certain status symbols to themselves.[2] Other calcei were distinguished by their ornamentation. The “equestrian calceus” (calceus equestris or equester) included distinct crescent-shaped buckles.[citation needed] The “senatorial calceus” (calceus senatorius) was likewise distinguished by a crescent-shaped ornament, an ivory lunula attached to the back of the shoe.[12] By the mid-imperial period, this was probably made of black leather.[13] The “turned calceus” (New Latin calceus repandus) was an unrelated pointy-toed unisex Etruscan form of footwear, which received its name from a passage in Cicero where he references Juno Sospita’s calceoli, “little calceus-like shoes”.[14] See also

Before the shod foot came the bare one.  In Roman Syria shoelessness might be a mark of poverty, as we would expect. And if we’re to believe the satirist Lucian, the Cobblers’ Children Syndrome (a craftsman so busy he has no time to make anything for his family) could infect the man himself and not just his offspring. In his comic essay Cataplus, or The Voyage to the Underworld, a shoemaker called Micyllus is one of a group of recently deceased people being escorted across the Styx by the god Hermes. As we hear in this extract , the divine conductor of souls is puzzled by Micyllus’s relaxed attitude to his hopeless situation. 

Her. Why, Micyllus, have you never an Oh or an Ah? It is quite improper that any shade should cross the stream, and make no moan. Mi. Get along with you. What have I to do with Ohs and Ahs? I’m enjoying the trip! Her. Still, just a groan or two. It’s expected. Mi. Well, if I must, here goes.— Farewell, leather, farewell! Ah, Soles, old Soles!— Oh, ancient Boots!— Woe’s me! Never again shall I sit empty from morn till night; never again walk up and down, of a winter’s day, naked, unshod, with chattering teeth! My knife, my awl, will be another’s: whose, ah! whose? Her. Yes, that will do. We are nearly there. (Kat 20) Gods and heroes Rich and poor See Juvenal Men and women Slaves and foreigners Cobblers come naturally to mind when intellectuals and elites look forces of low professions tise medicine. De methedo medendi Lucian sees all this as a comedy, Cataplus, or voyage to the Underworld: juxtaposes shoemaker Micyllus w cruel and rapacious rler Megapenthes, who keeps sneaking off to try to return to land of living. Micelles relishes erasure of all dustinctions that matter in the upper world: ‘Bless me, how dark it is . All complexions are alike here, no question of beauty, greater or less. The cloak I used to think shabby passes muster here as well as royal purple. The darkness hides both of them’ (Cataplus 22) Hermes puzzled by his relaxed attitude. Her. Why, Micyllus, have you never an Oh or an Ah? It is quite improper that any shade should cross the stream, and make no moan. Mi. Get along with you. What have I to do with Ohs and Ahs? I’m enjoying the trip! Her. Still, just a groan or two. It’s expected. Mi. Well, if I must, here goes.— Farewell, leather, farewell! Ah, Soles, old Soles!— Oh, ancient Boots!— Woe’s me! Never again shall I sit empty from morn till night; never again walk up and down, of a winter’s day, naked, unshod, with chattering teeth! My knife, my awl, will be another’s: whose, ah! whose? Her. Yes, that will do. We are nearly there. (Kat 20) HERE   martial claimed that, in their leisure time and in the more relaxed surroundings of rural life, hardly anyone used it by the early imperial period.[4] Senators and higher ranking priests were likewise expected to wear the mulleus or “red calceus” (calceus mulleus) along with their red-edged toga praetexta while engaged in their public duties. Festus claimed the mulleus was originally used by the kings of Alba Longa before being adopted by the patricians.[8] Cassius Dio states that the patrician shoes were originally marked with the letter R,[9] although early forms of Latin used an R closer in shape to the later P. Francis X. Ryan has offered that this class distinction in footwear—rather than procedural status—may have been responsible for the name of the backbencher senatores pedarii.[2] Cato the Elder stated that, by the end of the Republic, plebs who had reached curule office were entitled to the formerly patrician footwear.[8] Plebeian generals like Marius who celebrated a triumph were likewise permitted to wear them.[10] Talbert states that by the imperial era there is no conclusive evidence that footwear continued to differ between the classes as a whole,[11] possibly because the emperors began to restrict the use of certain status symbols to themselves.[2] Other calcei were distinguished by their ornamentation. The “equestrian calceus” (calceus equestris or equester) included distinct crescent-shaped buckles.[citation needed] The “senatorial calceus” (calceus senatorius) was likewise distinguished by a crescent-shaped ornament, an ivory lunula attached to the back of the shoe.[12] By the mid-imperial period, this was probably made of black leather.[13] The “turned calceus” (New Latin calceus repandus) was an unrelated pointy-toed unisex Etruscan form of footwear, which received its name from a passage in Cicero where he references Juno Sospita’s calceoli, “little calceus-like shoes”.[14] See also

    wealth and status

barefoot  romans

 

 

Before the shod foot came the bare one.  In Roman Syria, if we’re to believe the satirist Lucian, shoelessness could, unsurprisingly, be a mark of poverty. According to Lucian, the Cobblers’ Children Syndrome (a craftsman so busy that he has no time to make anything for his family) could affect the man himself as well as his offspring. In his comic essay Cataplus, or The Voyage to the Underworld, the satirist tells the story of a a shoemaker called Micyllus, who is one of a group of recently deceased people being escorted across the Styx by the god Hermes. As we hear in this extract, the divine conductor of souls is exasperated by Micyllus’s relaxed attitude to his hopeless situation. 

 

 

 

 

HERMES: For crying out loud, Micyllus. Can’t you produce a single moan?

MICYLLUS: What?

HERMES:  Come on. It’s against all the rules for a corpse to cross this stream without groaning a bit.  You know that.

MICYLLUS: Oh give me a break. Why do you keep rabbiting on about groaning all the time? I’m trying to enjoy this trip.

HERMES: Just have a go. A couple of wails, that’s all I’m asking. People expect it.

MICYLLUS: Alright, if you insist. 

Ahem.

(Declaiming) Farewell, leather, farewell!  Ah, Soles, my dear old Soles!  Ah, ancient Boots!  Oh, woe is me! Never again shall I sit on the ground from dawn till dusk with my belly complaining that my throat’s been cut. Never again shall I pace up and down on a winter’s morning, naked, unshod, teeth chattering. My knife, my awl, will you belong to another? Oh, whose will you be, I ask myself …?

HERMES: Yes alright. That’ll do. We’re nearly there now.

 

Epictetus. Floor of Siena Cathedral. DATE

 

 

But shoelessness might be linked to circumstances other than poverty. Philosophers might advertise their ascetic lifestyle by going barefoot, particularly if they belonged to the Stoic or Cynic schools. Epictetus (c.50 – 135 CE), a Stoic philosopher and former slave who lived in Rome, advises anyone walking barefoot to be careful where he treads, so as to avoid stepping on a nail.  This provides him with an analogy for walking with wisdom: it’s the equivalent of walking with self-awareness, he says, mindful every moment of how we are using our bodies and our minds.

REF

 

 

Like quite a lot of people today, some Romans thought that if they went for a stroll barefoot in the countryside, this would free them from constraint, and put them in touch with nature and their natural impulses. Here, Lucius Flavius Philostratus (2nd-3rd century CE), a Greek writer from Lemnos living in Rome, addresses a passionate love letter to a young man whom he fancies.

 

 

Let nothing come between the earth and your bare foot.    Don’t be afraid. The ground will welcome your tread as it would welcome grass, and we shall kiss your footprints.    Oh perfect lines of feet most dearly loved! Oh flowers new and strange!  Oh plants sprung from earth!
Oh kiss, left lying on the ground!

REF

GODDESSES, GODS AND HEROES

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Gods and goddesses were unquestionably of high status – they were powerful, influential, and if not wealthy in the conventional sense, they did have all their needs met without the need for hard labour. Heroes had more problematical lives, but they were worshipped after death, and often provided role models for the male members of the communities where they were honoured. All three of these beings were also allowed to break many of the rules concerning footwear.

 

In visual media we often encounter goddesses, gods and heroes who are shoeless.  Conventionally in Greek art young men, junior gods, and heroes were represented in the nude, and a nude torso usually dictated bare feet. This practice was frequently followed by sculptors in the Roman world, as in this statue of the young Hercules (the archetypal hero) on the right.

REF Ny CArl. 

REF PROBABLY COMMISSIONED FOR THE ISLAND OF MELOS DURING THE PERIOD OF ROMAN RULE

Girl Setting her, Hair. H.W.Bissen,1842. Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek, Copenhagen. Inspired by the Venus de Milo. 

But naked gods sometimes wore sandals, while partially clothed goddesses sometimes had bare feet. The best known example of the latter is the Venus de Milo, which is probably a statue of the goddess Aphrodite, newly born from the waves, commissioned for the Greek island of Melos during the period when it was ruled by the Romans, in the late second century BCE. 

Ca. 150. White marble.
Room 072

This sculpture is a Roman copy of a Hellenistic original dating from the second-first century B.C. Stripped of the baroque additions that distorted it, it is part of a large cycle of Venuses linked by similar postures. The beginning of this type of sculpture would seem to lie in a work by Lysipus or his school known through a Roman copy: the Venus of Capua. In it, the goddess, with a nude torso, looks at her reflection in Ares´ shield, which she holds in both hands. Adaptations from the Second Century B.C. include the rather fleshier Venus of Milo, and the prototype from which the present work is derived, with a clothed torso. Similar figures, with diverse variations, continued to be made for Roman female portraits. These bore wings, as images of Victories, allowing them to be used on triumphal monuments.

 

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Proud’, Design Museum Danmark Two costumes by Nicholas Nybro . . .  . . . that form part of his exhibition, ‘Proud’ at Copenhagen’s Design Museum © Thomas Cato (2) An exhibition showcasing 21 folk and regional costumes with modern spins, all designed by artist Nicholas Nybro. Ranging from the opulent to the humorous, the pieces are designed to tell stories about Denmark’s different regions, exploring identity, diversity, the environment and more. Until May 26; further information and tickets here

Proud’, Design Museum Danmark Two costumes by Nicholas Nybro . . .  . . . that form part of his exhibition, ‘Proud’ at Copenhagen’s Design Museum © Thomas Cato (2) An exhibition showcasing 21 folk and regional costumes with modern spins, all designed by artist Nicholas Nybro. Ranging from the opulent to the humorous, the pieces are designed to tell stories about Denmark’s different regions, exploring identity, diversity, the environment and more. Until May 26; further information and tickets here

Proud’, Design Museum Danmark Two costumes by Nicholas Nybro . . .  . . . that form part of his exhibition, ‘Proud’ at Copenhagen’s Design Museum © Thomas Cato (2) An exhibition showcasing 21 folk and regional costumes with modern spins, all designed by artist Nicholas Nybro. Ranging from the opulent to the humorous, the pieces are designed to tell stories about Denmark’s different regions, exploring identity, diversity, the environment and more. Until May 26; further information and tickets hereCHECK ITSREALLY HER

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The naked god most often encountered in sandals is Hermes, or Mercury in Roman parlance. As the courier of the gods and an inveterate traveller, Hermes is closely associated with footwear. In the justly famous statue on the right he is tying or perhaps untying one of his sandals, at the start of a journey or upon his arrival. The action of putting on a shoe symbolises movement, transition and dramatic development, while taking it off signifies getting down to business. Nothing could be more appropriate for Hermes/Mercury, the god who above all others is a change-maker and boundary-crosser. By escorting dead souls to the Underworld, as in the extract above from Lucian, he performs the task of transporting human beings across the ultimate boundary.

The pose has the added advantage of opening up the male body to the gaze of the viewer.  REF NY CARL our content goes here. Edit or remove this text inline or in the module Content settings. You can also style every aspect of this content in the module Design settings and even apply custom CSS to this text in the module Advanced settings.

And unlike upper class humans, gods could own magic sandals – they  could have wings attached to them, and fly around the world. Many Romans would have been quite familiar with the comedy The Birds by the Greek comic playwright, Aristophanes.WINGS ETC

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The goddess Juno, queen of the Roman deities, was generally dressed far more conventionally. In this statue from the Clayton Museum Museum at Chesters Roman Fort she wears ??? under her long tunic. 

Many people in the Roman world, including far-flung Britannia, would certainly have known the story of Achilles and his vulnerable heel.

Statius’s version

The story about Thetis dipping the infant Achilles in the river Styx to make him immortal is first attested in the Achilleid, an incomplete epic poem about Achilles written in Latin by the Roman poet Publius Papinius Statius (lived c. 45 – c. 96 AD). In the poem, Thetis mentions dipping Achilles in the waters of the river Styx as an infant to make him immortal several times and, at one point, she laments that she did not make him completely immortal.

Statius doesn’t say anything specific about Achille’s heel being the only vulnerable part of him, though, nor does he say that Paris killed him by shooting him in the heel. In other words, Statius gives us one part of the now-familiar story, but he doesn’t give us the whole thing.

Furthermore, even after Statius, the story about Thetis putting Achilles in the fire and anointing him with ambrosia seems to have remained by far the more common story. For instance, The Library of Pseudo-Apollodoros, a Greek mythographic composition written in around the second century AD or thereabouts, tells the exact same story that is told in Apollonios of Rhodes’s ArgonautikaThe Library 3.171 reads as follows, as translated by Stephen M. Trzaskoma:

“When Thetis had Peleus’s baby, she wanted to make it immortal. So unbeknownst to Peleus, at night she would hide it in the fire and destroy the mortal part that came from his father. By day she would rub ambrosia on him. When Peleus spied her and saw his son squirming in the fire, he gave a shout. Prevented from carrying out her plan, Thetis went off to the Nereids, abandoning her son in his infancy.”

After the collapse of the western Roman Empire, however, Greek texts became less commonly available in western Europe, as did knowledge of the Greek language. As a result, educated people in western Europe gradually came to rely on sources written in Latin for information about mythology. Thus, Statius’s version eventually became the best-known version in western Europe.

ABOVE: Thetis Immerses Her Son Achilles in the Waters of the River Styx, painted by Antoine Borel (lived 1743 – 1810)

The origin of the story of Paris shooting Achilles in the heel

It is hard to say at what point the story of Paris shooting Achilles specifically in the heel (or, more strictly, the ankle) arose. None of the surviving early Greek sources specify exactly where Paris shot Achilles. There are a handful of early Greek artworks that some scholars have interpreted as evidence that the story of Paris shooting Achilles in the heel may have existed as early as the sixth century BC, but these are highly ambiguous.

A lost Chalkidian black-figure amphora dated to around the middle of the sixth century BC shows the fallen Achilles lying on the ground with an arrow through his ankle. Achilles is clearly labeled, so we know it is definitely supposed to be him. There is another arrow sticking out of his flank, though, which suggests that, in the version of the story represented in the amphora, Achilles was first shot in the ankle to prevent him running and then shot in the side, killing him.

An Etruscan black-figure amphora dated to the late sixth century BC shows Paris about to shoot a warrior, who is thought to be Achilles, from behind, while he is fighting with another warrior. Paris is aiming relatively low, but he seems to be aiming for Achilles’s lower back leg, not his ankle. Furthermore, this may represent only Paris’s first shot, meaning he may be about to shoot Achilles in the leg and then shoot him again in the torso.

An Attic red-figure vase painting from the fifth century BC shows an archer on the left shooting an arrow, which is guided by Apollon, at the lower leg of a warrior standing on right. The figures are not labeled, though, so it is hard to tell if the warrior who is being shot at is even supposed to be Achilles.

Furthermore, the archer in the vase painting already has a second arrow loaded in his bow and he is apparently about to shoot the warrior again, meaning we may be seeing a similar scenario to the one depicted in the Chalkidian amphora, in which Paris first shoots Achilles in the ankle to prevent him from running and then shoots him in the side to kill him.

There are a number of other depictions of unlabeled warriors with arrows in their lower legs and ankles that some have guessed may represent Achilles, but, without labels, we can’t be sure that the warriors in these depictions actually are Achilles and, in most cases, we can’t be sure that the warriors in these depictions are actually dying.

ABOVE: Reproduction based on a photograph from 1927 of a scene from a now-lost Chalkidian black-figure vase painting showing the dead Achilles lying on the ground with one arrow through his ankle and another arrow through his side

The earliest reference in a written source to Paris shooting Achilles specifically in the heel comes from the epitome of the final portion of Pseudo-Apollodoros’s Bibliotheke, which states in section 5.3, as translated by Trzaskoma:

“Achilles also chased the Trojans, and near the Scaian Gates he was shot in the ankle with an arrow by Alexander and Apollo.”

The Bibliotheke makes no mention of Paris shooting Achilles anywhere other than the ankle, so it can be presumed that, in the Bibliotheke‘s version, the shot to the ankle is what kills him.

The Posthomerika, an epic poem composed by the Greek poet Kointos of Smyrna in around the late fourth century AD or thereabouts, also describes Achilles as being shot in the ankle. The description of Achilles’s death in Book Three of the Posthomerika reads as follows, as translated by Arthur S. Way:

“From mortal sight he vanished into a cloud,
and cloaked with mist a baleful shaft he shot
which leapt to Achilles’s ankle: sudden pangs
with mortal sickness made his whole heart faint.
He reeled, and like a tower he fell, that falls
smit by a whirlwind when an earthquake cleaves
a chasm for rushing blasts from underground;
so fell the goodly form of Aeacus’s son.”

While it is difficult to say at what point this story emerged, it is easy to imagine how it might have arisen. One of Achilles’s main epithets in the Iliad is ποδώκης (podṓkēs), which means “swift-footed,” and, in Book Eleven of the Iliad, Paris shoots the Greek warrior Diomedes—who is similar to Achilles in a lot of ways—in the foot.

I reckon that, at some point, someone probably remembered the scene of Paris shooting Diomedes in the foot and imagined Paris doing the same thing to Achilles. We can imagine, based on the Chalkidian amphora, that, in earlier versions of the story, Achilles is first shot in the ankle and then in the flank. Eventually, at some point presumably after Statius but before the composition of Pseudo-Apollodoros’s Bibliotheke the second century AD, someone tied it all back to the story from Statius about Thetis dipping Achilles in the waters of the river Styx. Thus, the legend as we know it today was born.

It’s amazing how the mythological tradition is constantly evolving. There are actually lots of other things that people think are in the Iliad that actually aren’t. For instance, even though seemingly every single adaptation of the Trojan War from the past twenty years includes a scene where Achilles marches up to the gates of Troy and calls Hektor out of the city to fight him, this scene actually isn’t in the Iliad either.

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text_orientation_last_edited=”on|desktop” background_layout_tablet=”” background_layout_phone=”” background_layout_last_edited=”on|desktop” border_width_all=”40px” border_color_all=”#0CA8CC” border_radii_tablet=”” border_radii_phone=”” border_radii_last_edited=”on|desktop” border_width_all_tablet=”40px” border_width_all_phone=”40px” border_width_all_last_edited=”on|desktop” border_color_all_tablet=”#0CA8CC” border_color_all_phone=”#0CA8CC” border_color_all_last_edited=”on|desktop” border_style_all_tablet=”” border_style_all_phone=”” border_style_all_last_edited=”on|desktop” locked=”off” global_colors_info=”{}”]<p style=”text-align: left;”>Like quite a lot of people today, some Romans thought that if they strolled over the ground barefoot this would free them from constraints and put them in touch with nature and their natural impulses. Here, Lucius Flavius Philostratus (2nd-3rd century CE), a Greek writer from Lemnos living in Rome, addresses a passionate love letter to a young man whom he fancies.</p>  
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THE UPPER CLASSES

In 27 BCE the Roman Republic was brought to an end, and the Roman Principate was established. The system was founded by Octavian – who at this point adopted the name Augustus – and it meant basically that one man was in control of Rome. In theory the Princeps, or Emperor, was ‘primus inter pares’ (first among equals), but in reality, he was a military autocrat. The most famous representation of Augustus provides us with an unusual (at the time) variation on the theme of barefoot/shod, nude/clothed.

At the end of the civil wars which had ravaged Rome for over 50 years Augustus was the victor, but also in a tricky situation. If he stood down, which he certainly wasn’t inclined to do, Rome would have relapsed into turmoil. But if he became an obvious dictator, like his great-uncle Julius Caesar, he might easily have ended up dead, as Caesar had done. His solution was a step-by-step approach to the assumption of supreme power. Not a particularly good general, he was brilliant at propaganda, and visual art furnished him with one of the most effective weapons in his armoury. The Primaporta statue is a masterpiece of the genre.

In a subtle blend of Roman and Greek tropes, Augustus is represented in the pose of a military leader and an orator. But he is also a hero. His face is youthful but a bit lined, and it gives the nod to a splendid tradition of realism in Roman portraiture. But the flicked-back hair and the faraway gaze also carry a hint of Alexander the Great. Unlike Alexander, however, Augustus wants to be remembered as a peace-maker, and his intricately carved armour depicts an episode in which he concludes a treaty with the Parthians, who occupied the land on the other side of the Euphrates.

In the statue the bare feet below the armour are not of course a mark of poverty, but show a ruler who is on the cusp of divinity. Augustus himself always rejected the offer of deification in Rome itself, but he did like to be asked. So the bare feet of the Primaporta statue predict a divine future for the Emperor once he has left this world.  So bare feet  represent two extremes of existence: the poor man and (far more commonly in sculpture) the god. 

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Three hundred years later, Constantine, the Emperor who brought Christianity to the Roman world, was far more upfront about being in charge. An enormous MARBLE foot in the courtyard of the Capitoline Museum in Rome is believed to have once belonged to a colossal 13-metre-high statue of Constantine. The sideways turn of the Emperor’s head seen in the Primaporta statue has now been replaced by a full-on, full-frontal, otherworldly gaze. The Constantine statue has recently been recreated, with the help of 3-D imaging, in a garden of the Capitoline Museum. Here, bare feet are most definitely part-and-parcel of a quasi-divine image: this work is thought to carry a reference to a statue of Jupiter, who up to this point had been the top god in Rome. 

2000 In the more conventional image of Augustus on the left, the Emperor is represented as a sober Roman magistrate, and is wearing orthodox calcei, 

martial claimed that, in their leisure time and in the more relaxed surroundings of rural life, hardly anyone used it by the early imperial perio

Senators and high ranking priests were  expected to wear the mulleus or “red calceus” (calceus mulleus) along with their red-edged toga praetexta while engaged in their public duties. Festus claimed the mulleus was originally used by the kings of Alba Longa before being adopted by the patricians.[8] Cassius Dio states that the patrician shoes were originally marked with the letter R,[9] although early forms of Latin used an R closer in shape to the later P. Francis X. Ryan has offered that this class distinction in footwear—rather than procedural status—may have been responsible for the name of the backbencher senatores pedarii.[2] Cato the Elder stated that, by the end of the Republic, plebs who had reached curule office were entitled to the formerly patrician footwear.[8] Plebeian generals like Marius who celebrated a triumph were likewise permitted to wear them.[10] Talbert states that by the imperial era there is no conclusive evidence that footwear continued to differ between the classes as a whole,[11] possibly because the emperors began to restrict the use of certain status symbols to themselves.[2] Other calcei were distinguished by their ornamentation. martial claimed that, in their leisure time and in the more relaxed surroundings of rural life, hardly anyone used it by the early imperial period.[4]”equestrian calceus” (calceus equestris or equester) included distinct crescent-shaped buckles.[citation needed] The “senatorial calceus” (calceus senatorius) was likewise distinguished by a crescent-shaped ornament, an ivory lunula attached to the back of the shoe.[12] By the mid-imperial period, this was probably made of black leather.[13] The “turned calceus” (New Latin calceus repandus) was an unrelated pointy-toed unisex Etruscan form of footwear, which received its name from a passage in Cicero where he references Juno Sospita’s calceoli, “little calceus-like shoes”.[14] See also

<p style=”text-align: left;”>In visual media we encounter a different category of barefoot being, the goddess, god or hero. Conventionally in Greek art young men and heroes were represented in the nude, and a nude torso usually dictated bare feet. This practice was also followed by sculptors in the Roman world, as in this statue of the young Hercules (the archetypal hero) on the right.</p>
<p><strong><span style=”color: #ff0000;”>REF Ny CArl. </span></strong></p>
<p style=”text-align: left;”>Girl Setting her, Hair. H.W.Bissen,1842. Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek, Copenhagen</p>
<p><span style=”color: #ff00ff;”>REF PROBABLY COMMISSIONED FOR THE ISLAND OF MELOS DURING THE PERIOD OF ROMAN RULE</span></p>
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Deleted: <article><strong class=”subtitulo”>Ca. 150. White marble.<br /><a href=”https://www.museodelprado.es/en/the-collection/art-works?cidoc:p55_has_current_location=Sala%20072&amp;ordenarPor=pm:relevance”>Room 072</a></strong>  
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other romans

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mono sandalism

perones

real shoe from Housesteads

Bronze leg and calceus from equestrian statue, MIlsington, Hoyke

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