Friday, December 3, 2010

Shoe Styles of Ancient Greece: Krepis (Crepida)

Lady's Fashionable Krepis
The Krepis evolved from the Pedila which originated in Persia (Yue and Yue, 1997). Greeks adopted the Pedila (Greek word for sole) during the Epic Age (c. 1000 -7000 BCE). Krepis were thick soled bootees with leather sides (vamps); the heel counter protected the foot and gave greater comfort. The toes were left uncovered. Other styles included half boots and sandals made with a thick cowhide leather sole (often raised in low platform style). The sole was pierced along the top with several holes through which a thong was passed through and tying it to the instep, (Rossi, 2000). The Krepis were developed for military use and the uppers were cut in a reticulated design (as in crossed striped). The tongue (lingual or ligula) over the mid step protected the top of the foot as well as an anchor for the thongs. Sometimes the leather tongue had a metal (silver, gold or ivory) plate (Yue and Yue, 1997). The later significance of the ligula was it indicated a citizen or freeman. Gods and heroes were often depicted wearing the Krepis but eventually the shoes were worn by both sexes.  

Soldier’s legs were protected by leather leggings called ‘cnemis’  (Yue and Yue, 1997). At times these were worn with a sandal called a ‘greave.’ It was not uncommon for Greek warriors to wear one sandal only in conflict (right foot). The left foot was protected by a combination of greave and cnemis.  The Romans called the Krepis, ‘Crepida’ and the Greeks were often referred to as “Crepidali.” The crepida was similar to the Roman carbatina (or karbatine).
Pedila


Simple Pedila




Military Krepis

References
Yue C and Yue D 1997 Shoes: Their history in words and pictures Houghton Mifflin Co : Boston.

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