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For Smith's general article on Roman shoes, see CALCEUS.

 p1051  Solea

Article by James Yates, M.A., F.R.S.,
on p1051 of

William Smith, D.C.L., LL.D.:
A Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities, John Murray, London, 1875.

SO′LEA was the simplest kind of sandal [Sandalium], consisting of a sole with little more to fasten it to the foot than a strap across the instep (Gellius, III.14, XIII.21). It was sometimes made of wood (Isid. Orig. XIX.34),º and worn by rustics (καλοπέδιλα, Theocrit. xxv.102, 103), resembling probably the wooden sandals which now form part of the dress of the Capuchins. The solea, as worn by the upper classes, was adapted chiefly for wearing in the house, so that when a man went out to dinner, he walked in shoes [Calceus], taking with him slippers [Soccus] or soleae, which he put on when he entered the house. Before reclining at table, these were taken away by a servant (see woodcut, p308; Plaut. Truc. II.4.16; Ovid. Ar. Am. II.212; Mart. VIII.59.14); consequently when dinner was over it was necessary to call for them (Plaut. Truc. II.4.12, Most. II.1.37; Hor. Sat. II.8.77). But, according to the state of the roads or of the weather, the shoes or boots were again put on in order to return home, the soleae being carried, as before, under the arm (Hor. Epist. I.13.15). When circumstances were favourable, this change of shoes for slippers or soleae was not considered necessary, the latter being worn in the streets (Mart. XII.88).

Soleae ligneae, soles or shoes of wood, were put on, under the authority of the Roman law, either for the purpose of torture, or perhaps merely to indicate the condition of a criminal, or to prevent his escape (Cic. Invent. II.50, ad Herenn. I.13). In domestic life the sandal commonly worn by females was often used to chastise a husband and bring him into subjection (Menander, p68. 186, ed. Meineke: solea objurgabere rubra, Pers. V.169; sandalio, Ter. Eunuch. V.8.4; Juv. VI.516).

Iron shoes (soleae ferreae) were put on the feet of mules (Catul. xvii.26); but instead of this, Nero had his mules shod with silver (Sueton. Nero, 30), and his empress Poppaea her'sº with gold (Plin. H. N. XXXIII.11 s49).

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Page updated: 22 Nov 12