Friday, December 3, 2010

Shoe styles of Ancient Greece: Kothornos (Corthornus)

The was term derived from the Cretan dialect and Greek actors wore these as raised sandals made from leather soles with thick cork insertions. Both actor and role were distinguished by body height. The stage prop is thought to have been introduced by Aeschylus circa. 450 BCE. Platforms were often as high as 6 inches (15.24 centimetres) from the ground and the swaggering gait was understood to be so erotic it sent females into ecstasy. The Kothornos was thought unsightly and always hidden by long robes. The association with tragedies however was such the genre eventually became known ‘cothurna’. Greek comedians wore low soled boots.

Platform sandals became fashionable with Greek women and according to Turner- Wilcox (2008), the style was carried to such an extreme it aroused criticism. The Korthonos later evolved into the buskin or half boots worn by hunters (Rossi, 2000), and the platform style may have been the inspiration for the 15th century chorine. The19th century neo-classic sandals which were tied with laces and criss-crossed the leg bore the same name. According to Turner-Wilcox ( 2008) one variation of the kothornos from Lydia in Asia Minor had a peaked toe. This was called the Scythian boot and made of soft leather, cut to fit, either foot. Similar looking boots are still worn by the horsemen of the Steppes.

Covereed cothurnus

Cothornus Sandal

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