While the men living in the Sumerian (3000-2000 B.C.E.), the Akkadian (2350-2218 B.C.E.), and the Babylonian (1894-1595 B.C.E.) empires of Mesopotamia, the region between the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers in present-day Iraq, went barefoot all the time, Assyrian men began to wear sandals for everyday use around 911 B.C.E. Showing these changes are sculptures and bas-reliefs, or wall carvings, from the time period depicting men with foot coverings. The evidence suggests that all men went barefoot while worshipping and some men continued to go barefoot all the time. Some, however, began to wear protective sandals for everyday use, especially those living in the more mountainous areas, and some wore boots while fighting wars or hunting.
No Assyrian sandals have survived, but the remaining pictures and sculptures show that they had a wedge heel, a heel covering, and were held to the foot with straps and a toe ring. These sandals were probably made out of leather or strong grasses called reeds and are the earliest foot coverings in Mesopotamia.
FOR MORE INFORMATION
Payne, Blanche, Geitel Winakor, and Jane Farrell-Beck. The History of Costume. 2nd ed. New York: HarperCollins, 1992.
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