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Thread: Shoes everywhere?

  1. #1
    Member Member geala's Avatar
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    Default Shoes everywhere?

    One of the biggest problems of EB (please don't take me too seriously ) is obviously the fact that everybody except some Indian and Nubian troops wear shoes. I think a certain part of the ancient fighters went barefoot and I would like to see this.

    For example we have some strong hints that Balearic slingers normally wear no shoes. For Greek warriors there is the debate of the interpretation of the pictural sources (a kind of offshoot of "heroic nudity"-discussion but with a different solution I think ); at least some Greeks may have fought barefoot but my database for the hellenistic time is small, I think more shoes are shown in the art than in classical times. For some northern and western parts of Europe going barefoot was common in later times, f.e. in Ireland or Pictish Scotland. I suppose this habit had a long tradition. Btw it was not a sign of poverty or imbecility but of cleverness.

    So first free the Goedelic etc. units from their clumsy shoes and make them better fighters! Every reenactor having walked on grass (dry or even wet) with leather soles without nails hopefully will understand this wish.
    Last edited by geala; 05-12-2007 at 07:28.
    The queen commands and we'll obey
    Over the Hills and far away.
    (perhaps from an English Traditional, about 1700 AD)

    Drum, Kinder, seid lustig und allesamt bereit:
    Auf, Ansbach-Dragoner! Auf, Ansbach-Bayreuth!
    (later chorus -containing a wrong regimental name for the Bayreuth-Dragoner (DR Nr. 5) - of the "Hohenfriedberger Marsch", reminiscense of a battle in 1745 AD, to the music perhaps of an earlier cuirassier march)

  2. #2
    Ming the Merciless is my idol Senior Member Watchman's Avatar
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    Default Re: Shoes everywhere?

    On the other hand, getting your feet wet and cold in the more northern winters is also a fairly good way to commit suicide. Why do you think everyone north of the Alps wore trousers ?
    "Let us remember that there are multiple theories of Intelligent Design. I and many others around the world are of the strong belief that the universe was created by a Flying Spaghetti Monster. --- Proof of the existence of the FSM, if needed, can be found in the recent uptick of global warming, earthquakes, hurricanes, and other natural disasters. Apparently His Pastaness is to be worshipped in full pirate regalia. The decline in worldwide pirate population over the past 200 years directly corresponds with the increase in global temperature. Here is a graph to illustrate the point."

    -Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster

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    EBII Mod Leader Member Foot's Avatar
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    Default Re: Shoes everywhere?

    Quote Originally Posted by geala
    One of the biggest problems of EB (please don't take me too serious ) is obviously the fact that everybody except some Indian and Nubian troops wear shoes. I think a certain part of the ancient fighters went barefoot and I would like to see this.
    Well lets see your evidence. We are not closed to new ideas, though our main focus at the moment is certainly on new units rather than on correcting old ones (which will most likely happen in the initial conversion to MTW2), but we do need evidence to support your claims.

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    Ambassador of Bartix Member Tiberius Nero's Avatar
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    Default Re: Shoes everywhere?

    The terrain of the Greek mainland is so rough that I cannot possibly imagine how people would go to battle bare footed there. Some kind of footware made of thick hide would be in order.
    Wow, got 3 ballons in one fell swoop

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    EBII Mapper and Animator Member -Praetor-'s Avatar
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    Default Re: Shoes everywhere?

    Quote Originally Posted by Tiberius Nero
    The terrain of the Greek mainland is so rough that I cannot possibly imagine how people would go to battle bare footed there. Some kind of footware made of thick hide would be in order.
    Actually, on greece, they did went barefooted to battle.

    Not sure after Iphycrates though, since after him the hoplites wore boots.

    PS: Try going barefooted for a week or two, you can stand on nails after that (exaggerating BTW, but something like that).

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    Asia ton Barbaron mapper Member Pharnakes's Avatar
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    Smile Re: Shoes everywhere?

    Slightly off topic, I don't know if anyone else has noticed this, but all Getai have big feet!
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    Member Member hoom's Avatar
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    Default Re: Shoes everywhere?

    Why do you think everyone north of the Alps wore trousers ?
    ... Yeah, like the Irish & Scots for example, both well renowned for trouser wearing
    maybe those guys should be doing something more useful...

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    EBII Mod Leader Member Foot's Avatar
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    Default Re: Shoes everywhere?

    Quote Originally Posted by hoom
    ... Yeah, like the Irish & Scots for example, both well renowned for trouser wearing
    Well we should certainly extrapolate our generalisations from that group. Compared to the mediterranean, northern europe is far colder and you will notice that they all wear trousers.

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  9. #9
    Ming the Merciless is my idol Senior Member Watchman's Avatar
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    Default Re: Shoes everywhere?

    Quote Originally Posted by Pharnakes
    Slightly off topic, I don't know if anyone else has noticed this, but all Getai have big feet!
    Even itchy dwarves need to have something big.

    Anyway, if you're used to going barefoot it should be quite doable enough in the Mediterranean climate most of the year (as long as you stay away from the highlands of course), and even in Scandinavia during the warmer seasons. But even in the temperate European climate it's a big no during the cold and wet seasons, and I suspect the practise was not terribly popular in forested regions and similar rugged terrain already because of the sheer amount of brambly, pointy stuff littering the ground. Opened pine tree cones alone are rather painful to step on, I know that much from experience.

    Also, there's enough of assorted little bloodsucking insects crawling around the bushes that most people ought to have preferred long trousers, thick socks and solid shoes or boots just to keep the little bastards off their skin.
    Last edited by Watchman; 05-11-2007 at 14:02.
    "Let us remember that there are multiple theories of Intelligent Design. I and many others around the world are of the strong belief that the universe was created by a Flying Spaghetti Monster. --- Proof of the existence of the FSM, if needed, can be found in the recent uptick of global warming, earthquakes, hurricanes, and other natural disasters. Apparently His Pastaness is to be worshipped in full pirate regalia. The decline in worldwide pirate population over the past 200 years directly corresponds with the increase in global temperature. Here is a graph to illustrate the point."

    -Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster

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    Ming the Merciless is my idol Senior Member Watchman's Avatar
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    Default Re: Shoes everywhere?

    Quote Originally Posted by hoom
    ... Yeah, like the Irish & Scots for example, both well renowned for trouser wearing
    The long wraparound cloaks perform much the same role you know, much like long skirts do. And I bet they donned some kinds of warm leggings or socks for the colder months as well.
    "Let us remember that there are multiple theories of Intelligent Design. I and many others around the world are of the strong belief that the universe was created by a Flying Spaghetti Monster. --- Proof of the existence of the FSM, if needed, can be found in the recent uptick of global warming, earthquakes, hurricanes, and other natural disasters. Apparently His Pastaness is to be worshipped in full pirate regalia. The decline in worldwide pirate population over the past 200 years directly corresponds with the increase in global temperature. Here is a graph to illustrate the point."

    -Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster

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    Member Member hoom's Avatar
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    Default Re: Shoes everywhere?

    Nonetheless, not trousers.

    Not that I'm trying to argue for presence or absence of shoes. Just pointing out that 'everyone north of the alps wore trousers' is not true.
    maybe those guys should be doing something more useful...

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    Closet Celtophile Member Redmeth's Avatar
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    Default Re: Shoes everywhere?

    Quote Originally Posted by Watchman
    Even itchy dwarves need to have something big. .
    Don't put down my ancestors Watchman plus I saw an archaeologist talking on TV about the changes the Romans had to make to their equipment after meeting the falx in battle. And he also said that to wield it the Getai had to have been at least 6 feet tall(at least the warriors that used it) and he was not a Romanian archaeologist so he wasn't biased.
    But in regard to the big feet... 45 or 11 1/2 in American is my size so maybe it's historically accurate after all

  13. #13
    Ming the Merciless is my idol Senior Member Watchman's Avatar
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    Default Re: Shoes everywhere?

    "Let us remember that there are multiple theories of Intelligent Design. I and many others around the world are of the strong belief that the universe was created by a Flying Spaghetti Monster. --- Proof of the existence of the FSM, if needed, can be found in the recent uptick of global warming, earthquakes, hurricanes, and other natural disasters. Apparently His Pastaness is to be worshipped in full pirate regalia. The decline in worldwide pirate population over the past 200 years directly corresponds with the increase in global temperature. Here is a graph to illustrate the point."

    -Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster

  14. #14
    Ming the Merciless is my idol Senior Member Watchman's Avatar
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    Default Re: Shoes everywhere?

    Quote Originally Posted by hoom
    Nonetheless, not trousers.

    Not that I'm trying to argue for presence or absence of shoes. Just pointing out that 'everyone north of the alps wore trousers' is not true.
    "...everyone north of the Alps except those kinky skirt-wearing Scots and Irishmen." Happy ?
    "Let us remember that there are multiple theories of Intelligent Design. I and many others around the world are of the strong belief that the universe was created by a Flying Spaghetti Monster. --- Proof of the existence of the FSM, if needed, can be found in the recent uptick of global warming, earthquakes, hurricanes, and other natural disasters. Apparently His Pastaness is to be worshipped in full pirate regalia. The decline in worldwide pirate population over the past 200 years directly corresponds with the increase in global temperature. Here is a graph to illustrate the point."

    -Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster

  15. #15

    Default Re: Shoes everywhere?

    My grandpa told me that when he was a kid he walked barefoot everywhere, climbed everything, walked all kinds of terrains, both in summer, spring, fall, autum. I bet people of antiquity, generally speaking, had MUCH MUCH stronger feet than us. It would probably be easier to climb a mountain with barefoot than with roman sandals. Remember, their footware was not nike / adidas footware anyways.

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    EB annoying hornet Member bovi's Avatar
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    Default Re: Shoes everywhere?

    I walked barefoot all summer during my childhood, and you definitely gain a protective layer. I could easily walk on our driveway which was covered in tiny stones (is that what's called gravel?), but not run there. Also I only ran in woods barefoot once, that's really painful. As for climbing, barefoot is good, but climbing shoes designed for greater traction are better. I have no idea whether they had any such shoes at the time, but sandals are probably not the way to go.

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    Default Re: Shoes everywhere?

    There is NO WAY a man could go barefoot to India. Pezhetairoi did. Pakistanis to this day use the greek word for "sandals", which at least to me means that those Makedonian guys with long pikes who got there used them. Or that IndoGreeks like that guy in my sig did, which is the same.

    I guess "being barefoot" could work for Pantodapoi. Only those, though.

    Romani could make a shoe out fo a really plain piece of leather. Keltai out of cloth. I really don't believe they were the only ones.
    Last edited by keravnos; 05-11-2007 at 22:57.


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    EBII Mapper and Animator Member -Praetor-'s Avatar
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    Default Re: Shoes everywhere?

    Also, there's enough of assorted little bloodsucking insects crawling around the bushes that most people ought to have preferred long trousers, thick socks and solid shoes or boots just to keep the little bastards off their skin.
    In Europe???? Awww, dudde, c`mon... try going into Peru barefooted dude... (or even India, or anything tropical)

    You will get something more than just some leechers... and since this isn`t a horror forum, I won`t post pics or links to some truly hideous bugs...

    Ever seen a centipede eat a mouse?

  19. #19
    Ming the Merciless is my idol Senior Member Watchman's Avatar
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    Default Re: Shoes everywhere?

    Nah, the 'pedes we have around here are like two centimeters long tops. Cold climes and short summers aren't really conductive for large insects methinks.

    Doesn't keep the little guys we have from being a pain and a half (a type of very small flying bloodsucker turns up in such quantities in some parts that members of the local fauna sometimes go flatly insane from them), and occasionally carrying very unpleasant diseases. You can get a type of brain fever off the teensy-weensy little ticks that like to lurk in long grass and brushes waiting for something warm-blooded to go by, for example. And the marshlands can be as deadly fever pits as anywhere - just ask all the guys who died of funny diseases building St. Petersburg in the Neva delta.

    But yeah, the tropics are on a whole different level when it comes to disturbing creepy-crawlers and rampant microorganisms. On top of which I understand that in hot and about permanently humid climes your clothes may quite well flat out rot on you, depending on their material...
    Last edited by Watchman; 05-12-2007 at 00:23.
    "Let us remember that there are multiple theories of Intelligent Design. I and many others around the world are of the strong belief that the universe was created by a Flying Spaghetti Monster. --- Proof of the existence of the FSM, if needed, can be found in the recent uptick of global warming, earthquakes, hurricanes, and other natural disasters. Apparently His Pastaness is to be worshipped in full pirate regalia. The decline in worldwide pirate population over the past 200 years directly corresponds with the increase in global temperature. Here is a graph to illustrate the point."

    -Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster

  20. #20
    Member Member geala's Avatar
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    Default Re: Shoes everywhere?

    Oops, you want evidence. I thought I could say something and others would do my work.

    Ok, unfortunately I'm not a historian so I have no authentic sources ready. My thoughts came from the impression I got during some reading here and there.

    For the Greeks we have plenty of pictural evidence of hoplites and psiloi fighting barefoot. The question is, was this artistic convention, were the shoes added with now lost paint like many other details or was it a real phenomenon? If I look to the pictures where warriors with and without shoes are depicted in the same context (fe on the kylix with Achilles and Patroklos, others I had to search, I memorized a lot but don't know where I saw it) I tend to believe the latter.

    Hoplite battles were mostly fought on plain terrain and being without shoes in the pressure of othismos gives you a certain advantage because you have generally better balance and can use your toes to secure your stand. As peasants and shepherds most people were used to go barefoot, so some itchy stones or even sharp parts of broken weapons and armour or something like this would not have been a big problem. (I remember some remarks from I think Gustav Nachtigall, exploring the Sahara desert, about an area with sharp stones where the shoes rapidly deteriorated while the bare-footet natives walked without problems). And better a bleeding foot instead of becoming unbalanced and get stabbed in the belly or trampled down from friend or foe. Although with daily exercise the soles of your feet become quite impregnable (something many of us modern people cannot imagine) the top of the feet does not; that may be the reason that wearing shoes/boots when hunting in areas densely covered with plants seemed to have been normal.

    Maybe in hellenistic times things had changed because of another kind of warfare. And I don't think hoplites etc. went barefoot on longer jouneys. In the Kyrou Anabasis fe the wearing of shoes seems to be usual. But we see our EB soldiers mainly during battles. I would like to see some Greek troops (hoplite levies, slinger fe) without shoes but that's not the first objective.


    I'm more preoccupied ( ) with some northwestern cultures.
    I do not say that everybody in nothern Europe went barefoot all the times. Although you can go -if used to do- barefoot down to 5 degrees Celsius without problems there are and were colder temperatures fe in what is now Germany a third of the year. There are finds of shoes and apparently some deformations on some feet showing the wearing of shoes. On the other hand there are also some typical signs of going barefoot on bog bodies.

    My remarks aimed more or less at Ireland and Scotland and not the Celtic and Germanic cultures on mainland Europe or England. I refer to the stone carvings and the pictures in some books from that area, fe the Book of Kells, showing mostly warriors with bare feet (and of course without the ugly trousers used elsewhere). This is 7th or 8th c. AD and I don't know wether contradictory sources exist from the earlier periods. If so I would be very pleased to hear about it because making conclusions from one timeframe to another is quite dangerous. I will not refer to the many sources from later times fe the wood carvings of 16th c. about Irish warriors.
    Some good source for early times (because it is told by the way) may be the saga of Cuchulainn throwing his terrible gae bulga jammed between the toes with a foot ; not easy to be explained when wearing shoes was common.

    It is also a bit rule of thumb, I admit. Ireland is relatively wet with moderate temperatures, not so many sharp stones and presumably less gravel paths in the past than nowadays. Scotland has a harsh climate and walking with shoes in the winter seems mandatory. There are finds of Pictish shoes of course. But in the summer Scotland is a bit wet too. It is not so nice to walk in wet leather shoes because it need such a very very long time to dry. Let alone fighting in leather shoes on wet surface. Try it but be careful, a member of my group suffered a complicated breach of a foot doing it. On soddy terrain (especially if wet) I would never fight with leather shoes without nails but ever go barefoot.
    Last edited by geala; 05-12-2007 at 09:37.
    The queen commands and we'll obey
    Over the Hills and far away.
    (perhaps from an English Traditional, about 1700 AD)

    Drum, Kinder, seid lustig und allesamt bereit:
    Auf, Ansbach-Dragoner! Auf, Ansbach-Bayreuth!
    (later chorus -containing a wrong regimental name for the Bayreuth-Dragoner (DR Nr. 5) - of the "Hohenfriedberger Marsch", reminiscense of a battle in 1745 AD, to the music perhaps of an earlier cuirassier march)

  21. #21
    Member Member geala's Avatar
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    Default Re: Shoes everywhere?

    Could you give a short hint to the evidence that the Goidelic warriors used shoes on a large scale. Or is it self-explanatory?
    The queen commands and we'll obey
    Over the Hills and far away.
    (perhaps from an English Traditional, about 1700 AD)

    Drum, Kinder, seid lustig und allesamt bereit:
    Auf, Ansbach-Dragoner! Auf, Ansbach-Bayreuth!
    (later chorus -containing a wrong regimental name for the Bayreuth-Dragoner (DR Nr. 5) - of the "Hohenfriedberger Marsch", reminiscense of a battle in 1745 AD, to the music perhaps of an earlier cuirassier march)

  22. #22
    EBII Mod Leader Member Foot's Avatar
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    Default Re: Shoes everywhere?

    Yeh, sorry. We'll get someone to look at this.

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  23. #23

    Default Re: Shoes everywhere?

    The Psiloi and other skirmisher class troops, for sure, would walk unshod, but I would leave the main line infantry with their boots and sandles or whatever. In more temperate zones back in ancient times, footwear was generally viewed as either military equipment, or a luxury that rich people could afford. The likes of peasants and slaves would normally appear barefoot, which health-wise, wasn't such a bad thing for them. Unless they stepped on shit of course. People in antiquity were generally tougher and fitter than we are now. In this day and age, too many of us would never leave the house without our shoes, which in truth, is actually doing us more harm than good. Perhaps the time will come when walking barefoot outdoors will become commonplace again. Who knows?

  24. #24
    Member Member geala's Avatar
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    Default Re: Shoes everywhere?

    When I reread my last post, it could sound a bit insolent. It's not meant so.

    What I mean with "self-explanatory" is, are there archaeological or written sources or is it a rule of thumb, like "no healthy human (even in Greece, Ireland or elsewhere where we have sources for bare feet ) would walk to a fight without protection for his feet"? That rule of thumb could not be disposed so easily despite my different opinion.


    Edit: btw, on the weekend I gave my Karvatina shoe reconstructions a trial, hiking appr. 16 km. Although it was sunny and dry and the shoes fit me very well on some parts of the way I felt a bit uncomfortable because of the slippery leather soles. So I went barefoot half the way without great problems (and I'm not so very well trained). But the shoes were nice on the modern gravel paths.
    Last edited by geala; 05-22-2007 at 16:24.
    The queen commands and we'll obey
    Over the Hills and far away.
    (perhaps from an English Traditional, about 1700 AD)

    Drum, Kinder, seid lustig und allesamt bereit:
    Auf, Ansbach-Dragoner! Auf, Ansbach-Bayreuth!
    (later chorus -containing a wrong regimental name for the Bayreuth-Dragoner (DR Nr. 5) - of the "Hohenfriedberger Marsch", reminiscense of a battle in 1745 AD, to the music perhaps of an earlier cuirassier march)

  25. #25
    Member Member geala's Avatar
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    Default Re: Shoes everywhere?

    Quote Originally Posted by Watchman
    "...everyone north of the Alps except those kinky skirt-wearing Scots and Irishmen." Happy ?
    Just saw it now. It is not totally correct. For example the medieval people from Frisia in a northern part of HRE frequently went without trousers in the summer.


    When I'm already here: back to Eire. A not so bad starter for me was http://www.earlyirish.org/EarlyGaelicDress12col.pdf (which gives lots of examples of shoes for the Gaelic people by the way; but that does not contradict me). It deals not with the times BC yet. It also says -what I have read just the moment - that in the Tain Bo Cualnge many shoes are mentioned when Mac Roth decribes the men of Ulster. So the saga seems to be not a proof for my arguments.

    But reading line 4216 to 4546 I cannot find these mentions, perhaps I'm in a wrong part. Frequently the kits of the heroes are described elsewhere but shoes or trousers are not mentioned. Btw Cuchullain throwing the gae bulga with his toes and killing Fer Diad is line 3340ff..


    For the hellenistic times I would just like to name the exotic Nile mosaic from Praenestum c. 100 BC. It is contended, I know, and already discussed in the EB forum I believe, but a look to the soldiers in the foreground (depicted realistically in my opinion) is interesting.
    The queen commands and we'll obey
    Over the Hills and far away.
    (perhaps from an English Traditional, about 1700 AD)

    Drum, Kinder, seid lustig und allesamt bereit:
    Auf, Ansbach-Dragoner! Auf, Ansbach-Bayreuth!
    (later chorus -containing a wrong regimental name for the Bayreuth-Dragoner (DR Nr. 5) - of the "Hohenfriedberger Marsch", reminiscense of a battle in 1745 AD, to the music perhaps of an earlier cuirassier march)

  26. #26

    Default Re: Shoes everywhere?

    Quote Originally Posted by Watchman
    On the other hand, getting your feet wet and cold in the more northern winters is also a fairly good way to commit suicide. Why do you think everyone north of the Alps wore trousers ?
    Because it was exciting?

  27. #27
    Member Member geala's Avatar
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    Default Re: Shoes everywhere?

    I just got back access to D. Heads book about the Armies of the Punic and Macedonian wars where I read earlier about the Balearians (who I gave as an example in my first post). He mentions Strabo as a source that no shoes were used before the Carthaginians appeared and that also the later statues show mostly barefoot Balearic warriors. Unfortunately I have no access to Strabo at the moment.

    For the Greeks there are also some pictures from the early classical and the hellenistic times showing warriors with and without shoes which is for me a sign of a real habit.

    For the Goidelic people of Ireland: I just tried the Arthurian TW mod where the gaelic troops are depicted (just my humble opinion ) a bit better in the aspect of this thread (but it is from 481 AD onwards so I'm not sure about the different habits of the times - sources for great difference?) I think some people from EB also work on this mod. As I can not do without the marvellous features of EB: is it possible to use sprites from another RTW mod in EB easily? I modded MTW troops a bit but in RTW I know nothing.


    My final conclusion: I agree that it presumably would be too laborious to make some troops going bare-footed in EB, even if you would not totally dismiss my suit. Perhaps you can create a certain diversity in EB2, making some troops dedicated to it without shoes and even mix it in the same unit due to the abilities of the M2TW machine?
    The queen commands and we'll obey
    Over the Hills and far away.
    (perhaps from an English Traditional, about 1700 AD)

    Drum, Kinder, seid lustig und allesamt bereit:
    Auf, Ansbach-Dragoner! Auf, Ansbach-Bayreuth!
    (later chorus -containing a wrong regimental name for the Bayreuth-Dragoner (DR Nr. 5) - of the "Hohenfriedberger Marsch", reminiscense of a battle in 1745 AD, to the music perhaps of an earlier cuirassier march)

  28. #28

    Default Re: Shoes everywhere?

    Quote Originally Posted by Watchman
    The long wraparound cloaks perform much the same role you know, much like long skirts do. And I bet they donned some kinds of warm leggings or socks for the colder months as well.
    Kinda off-topic, but when were socks invented? And by whom?

  29. #29
    Voluntary Suspension Voluntary Suspension Philippus Flavius Homovallumus's Avatar
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    Default Re: Shoes everywhere?

    Well Classical Greeks definately wore some form of sandal, there's a very famous anecdote from Plato's Symposium about Socrates specifically not wearing shoes on campaign, even in the icy winter.
    "If it wears trousers generally I don't pay attention."

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  30. #30
    Member Member Thaatu's Avatar
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    Default Re: Shoes everywhere?

    Quote Originally Posted by I Am Herenow
    Kinda off-topic, but when were socks invented? And by whom?
    That's the greatest question anyone has ever asked the EB team. I think the earliest reference to socks is in the Old Testament, the Book of Exodus:

    And God said to Moses:
    Take thee with you,
    to carry you across
    these hot desert sands,
    these fine wool socks.


    There's also a reference to stockings in the Epic of Gilgamesh, which I'm not going to quote, because it makes no sense.

    A follow up, why do mine always disappear?

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