When the Romans pushed their way north into the German provinces, they built (circa 90 AD) The Saalburg, a fort that protected the boundary between the Roman Empire and the Germanic tribal territories. At its peak, 2,000 people lived in the fort and the attached village. It remained active until around 260 AD.
Somewhere during the 19th century, The Saalburg was rediscovered and excavated, then later fully reconstructed. It’s now a UNESCO World Heritage site and houses the Saalburg Museum, which contains many Roman relics, including a 2,000 year old shoe, apparently found in a local well.
If you think the Italians have mastered the craft of making shoes, well, they don’t have much on their ancestors. According to the site Romans Across Europe, the Romans “were the originators of the entire-foot-encasing shoe.” The site continues:
There was a wide variety of shoes and sandals for men and women. Most were constructed like military caligae, with a one-piece upper nailed between layers of the sole. Many had large open-work areas made by cutting or punching circles, triangles, squares, ovals, etc. in rows or grid-like patterns. Others were more enclosed, having only holes for the laces. Some very dainty women’s and children’s shoes still had thick nailed soles.
The image above, which puts all of the Roman’s shoe-making skill on display, comes to us via Reddit and imgur.
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Nice shoe! How lone before Adidas copies it?
Sorry, don’t believe it.
There is a softer version , also found in a well in the limes Roman fort next to Oberursel , just south of Frankfurt . It is constructed of soft straps arching upwards from the sole and joined by a centerpiece on the top of the foot
What do you mean you don’t believe it? Yes, museums usually get shoes at Goodwill and pretend they are ancient. SMH
Some modern manufacturer should copy it and assign some of the profits to the museum.
Absolutely beautiful! Thankyou for sharing this!
My thought is that the material would decompose after so long.
Organic material doesn’t decay in anaerobic conditions, such as being buried in mud in the bottom of an ancient well. Of course the material will decay rapidly once exposed to air, so conservation is necessary to prevent decay and preserve it.
Nice piece of shoe design! I want a pair too!!!!
It’s a lot like other shoes from the same time and place. What’s so hard to believe?
Wow! Incredible it’s still intact! Amazing discovery!
It looks like an even daintier brogue shoe. Outstanding.
As an expert on Roman history, what do you think it is?
Wells are a good place for artifacts to survive. They’re usually some combination of alkali, anaerobic and high in clay.
I am a high school history teacher, at one of the finest public schools in the nation ( that is, according to Forbes Magazine ). Please feel free to include me in email and on line content/media/articles gathered on your web site. Thrilled to connect with an additional source which can be utilized in the classroom!
Dear Roger Leroy and Cindy,
Science is not based on thoughts but on facts.
Yes, they still DO find dinosaurs !
I’m a little surprised that it’s so obviously built as a LEFT shoe. The overall shape is pretty much what I see in displays at the shoe stores.
I don’t buy it! This must be a joke!