Ancient Rome breakthrough as 2,000-year-old sandal discovery sparks huge insight

Tyler Mitchell By Tyler Mitchell Jun29,2024

The archaeological discovery of a 2,000-year-old pair of Roman sandals, found near an ancient military fort in Oberstimm, Germany, has provided an incredible insight into the military equipment used by the famous armies. 

The only remnants of the leather shoe were its sole and some well-preserved nails, Live Science reported. 

Having analysed them using X-rays, researchers were able to determine that the shoe is a caliga. This type of heavy-duty, hobnailed sandal was part of the standard uniform issued to Roman legionary soldiers and auxiliaries 2,000 years ago. 

They were designed to protect soldiers from blisters and trench foot, with a thick sole consisting of several layers of goat, sheep or cow skin.

Straps covering the instep and lower leg ensured the sandal was secure. 

The nails in the sole helped provide traction for marching soldiers. 

Researchers unearthed the footwear during an excavation at a civilian settlement on the outskirts of a Roman military fort, which dates back to between 60 and 130 AD, according to the Bavarian State Office for Monument Preservation (BLfD).

Additional discoveries included food scraps, pottery, a sickle and various costume components, which help provide a richer understanding of daily life.

The infamous third Roman emperor, Caligula, who was known for his cruelty and erratic behaviour, got his nickname from the small caligae he wore as a child among his father’s soldiers – literally meaning “little boot” – said ZME Science

By the end of the first century AD, the Roman army had begun wearing enclosed boots known as calcei, driven by the need for greater protection and durability. This was particularly important as the armies entered more diverse and harsher climates as the empire was expanded.  

“So-called caligae were mainly worn by Roman soldiers during the Roman Empire,” Amira Adaileh, a consultant at the BLfD, said in the statement. 

“The find makes it clear that the practices, lifestyles and clothing that the Romans brought with them to Bavaria were adopted by the local people.”

Tyler Mitchell

By Tyler Mitchell

Tyler is a renowned journalist with years of experience covering a wide range of topics including politics, entertainment, and technology. His insightful analysis and compelling storytelling have made him a trusted source for breaking news and expert commentary.

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