Monday, July 17, 2006
Militarization of sandals in Antiquity : Flip flops with attutude
Alexander the Great (356 BC —323 BC), conquered half the world with barefoot armies and Greek warriors (or hoplites) wore body amour with heavy leg covers but no shoes.
Other civilizations, such as the Assyrians adapted flat thongs for their soldiers (1370 BC) but these offered only minimal protection to the foot. Assyrian cavalry of the 8th & 7th centuries BC wore laced boots (or greaves) which reached to below the knee.
Colour was important in military footwear to distinguish rank as dying became more sophisticated. It was during the New Kingdom (1540-1070 BC), Egyptian soldiers began to wear woven leather sandals which offered some protection to their feet from weaponry.
It took until the Etruscan Civilization (753 B.C.–509 B.C.) and the introduction of brass tacks before the upper of the sandal could be securely attached to the sole of the thong. The Romans capitalized on this innovation and added metal tacks to their caligula.
More robust footwear allowed Romans infantry to travel greater distances and many experts believe the is the primary reason the Roman Empire grew so large. The Distance from the ends of the empire became so far they could no longer rely on supplies from Rome and instead adopted local footwear and trained local craftsmen in the art of sandal making.
Caches of Roman sandals have been found and analysis reveal that two millennia ago, people had feet and foot problems consistent with modern feet.