Mesopotamian Footwear

As civilizations developed in Mesopotamia between 3000 and 300 B.C.E. , foot coverings became more important. From the earliest times to about 911 B.C.E. , the available evidence indicates that the people who lived in Mesopotamia, the region between the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers in present-day Iraq, went without any footwear at all. Even though these people had developed needles for sewing garments, looms for weaving, and the skills to make beautiful gold jewelry, they worked, entertained, worshiped, and went to

Working men often wore sandals to protect their feet against the elements. Reproduced by permission of © .
war with unadorned bare feet. Statues of kings and queens in elaborately fringed outfits and carefully styled hair show these people without shoes.

The first depictions of people wearing foot coverings appear between 911 and 612 B.C.E. during the time of Assyrian rule. Although no samples of Assyrian footwear have been discovered, sculptures, statues, and bas-reliefs, or wall carvings, on the ruins of palace walls show men wearing sandals for some occasions, women in slippers with toe coverings, and warriors wearing boots with laces tied below the knee. Not until 550 to 330 B.C.E. , when the Persians ruled, was footwear common. Regrettably, almost nothing is known about the details of how these shoes were made.


Payne, Blanche, Geitel Winakor, and Jane Farrell-Beck. The History of Costume. 2nd ed. New York: HarperCollins, 1992.


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