5 / 1998

Byzantine leather farmer's shoe * Byzantine Empire * 400 - 900 A.D.

The shoe shown here is a typical example of the bourgeois style of footwear that was introduced by the Etruscans (800 - 400 B.C.), who created the first shoes by refining the primitive idea of covering a foot by wrapping animal hides around it, into a prototype of the early brogue. This was sole-less, split at the instep and tied with a lace. It remained a standard shoe for peasants up to the time of Charlemagne (Carolus Magnus 742 - 814 A.D.) Although the shape and style was basic, the variations of the Byzantines in upper design and used materials were endless. Sheep, goat and chamois leather, silk, linen, embroidered with silver and gold thread or decorated with beads and jewellery.

Research and text by : W.A.H.M. Habraken-Oosterhout-Holland
Illustration by : Colin Ball - Waalwijk - Holland