I was looking at this drawing of a Roman soldier (copied below)

enter image description here

About the boots: Is this pair of boots plausible for a Roman soldier (in any era/province of the Roman Empire)? I would like to confirm the historical veracity of the picture.

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    Long boots yes, but not that tongue in the middle. Socks would have been worn underneath to cover the front where the boot didn't wrap all the way around.
    – Daniel
    Commented Oct 24, 2018 at 21:21

1 Answer 1


These boots are in the calceus style. As such they are quite spot on and accurate for a Roman soldier in colder climates. But not unlike the caligae we stereotypically associate with a legionaire's outfit these type of footwear were also found across the entire empire.

enter image description here via an ugly site

The actual styles came in quite a variety, though:

enter image description here
"Replikat römischer Schuhe aus Vindolanda - gefertigt von Meister Knieriem" by Hiltibold

enter image description here "Right Foot from a Statue 2nd Century A.D."

So regarding the era and provinces: this type of dress is not that typical for a common soldier of the republic, but early empire, since the dress/armour would have changed as well in later times. But this type of footwear was well in fashion throughout the empire:

enter image description here According to Simon James – who basically focuses on the Julius Terentius wall-painting from Dura-Europos – the following elements determine the Roman officer: the cloak, the tunic, undergarment, breeches, footwear (the calceus), the purse, but most of all, the sword on a baldric, the military belt, the golden finger-ring (the annulus aureus), and the military staff.
2nd and 3rd century AD depictions of soldiers. Attributes determining the Roman officer
Marie-Louise Nosch: "Wearing the Cloak. Dressing the Soldier in Roman Times", Ancient Textiles Vol. 10, Oxbow Books: Oxford, Oakville, p 93.

And in the age of Trajan, found on his column:

Calcei: A tightly-fit boot worn by officers and the emperor. Scenes 6, 25, 104, 118.

Caliga (-ae): The open boot (in fact a kind of heavy sandal) worn by Roman soldiers, including the emperor himself. Scenes 16, 40, 66, 106, 110.

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    Presumably "in colder climes" the soldier probably wouldn't be wearing shorts, though?
    – T.E.D.
    Commented Oct 24, 2018 at 15:33
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    @T.E.D. Ever seen a true Scotsmen in winter? The "pants" come down to when you would like to raise that issue. Early on trousers were quite disliked, barbaric etc. Then they went north and started to see how nice it is to have slightly warmer legs… But later they would even wear long trousers in Egypt and Mesopotamia. I feel that the Q should be tagged "fashion" as well. Commented Oct 24, 2018 at 15:50
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    @T.E.D. in AD 69, the roman general Aulus Caecina, arriving from the frontier on the rhine, shocked the toga-clad roman citizens of northern Italy by wearing Germanic trousers (Tac. Hist. 2,20) Commented Oct 24, 2018 at 15:55
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    lol. No way am I biting on that one
    – T.E.D.
    Commented Oct 24, 2018 at 16:16
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    @T.E.D. ;) –– But seriously, my granddad used to spin the tale of going shorty to school in winter. Of course all the 14km through 5 meters of snow with fierce winds from the front… Funny though that all pictures of him in that attire seemed to be taken in other seasons. Commented Oct 24, 2018 at 16:20

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