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Came across this shoe in the Museum of fine arts Boston, said to be from Egypt and Ptolemaic......


The provenance is none existent to say the least but it has similarity's with another shoe from Dura which has a very broad date, however for various reasons I'm fairly convinced the Dura shoe is Roman late 2nd to mid 3rd cent ad:


Reconstruction of the Dura shoe the original may have been higher, possibly a short boot:



An illustration of a  2nd cent bc shoe from the Funerary Stele of Dioscourides at Sidon, this appears to be  a short boot with multiple eyelets:


Hellenistic or Roman........?
Another shoe said to be Ptolemaic in the MFA Boston: "From the Faiyum. 1902 excavated by the Egypt Exploration Fund"

This looks like a turn shoe but its difficult to be sure...


It still contains a foot!

A similar shoe from a hellenistic sculpture, the figure is of a Persian though this type occurs on other hellenistic figures as well possibly 3rd-2nd cent bc:

Very interesting posts here!! It does indeed resemble a turn shoe. I wonder if anyone here could help in figuring out how it may have been made?
Zack the method is pretty well known, the earliest example of a turn shoe that I know off is a group of seven shoes from a temple find in Egypt dated tentatively Ptolemaic possibly the 3rd cent bc:


The shoes are made inside out and turned, hence turnshoes, in the case of the adult shoe an outer sole has been added, without looking inside a shoe it can be difficult to tell.

Shoes of this type likely date back to Archaemenid Persia as they occur in art from the era, there are many hundreds of Coptic (and later) turnshoes from Egypt in museum collections.

Hellenistic or Persian? Note the similarity to Dioscourides footware, though I think they are laced.

Fully enclosed shoes are known from Egypt well before this date this example from Thebes and said to be around 1200bc, the construction though is completely different rather a sandal with a "rand" with an upper attached, the stitching is very very fine..... its Not a turn shoe!


In the collection of the Leather Museum Offenbach.

I dont particularly want to overwhelm you with sources, but this is a useful intro to Egyptian shoes... one method of stitching a turnshoe can be found on page 63 this would work for several of the shoes in this thread.

Other books available from Sidestone, you can read online for free.... or buy the PDFs.
Wow! You've come through once again Ivor. Hours of searching online can be trumped with the help of a simple post here. So helpful. I will definitely have to look more into these before I start my Hellenistic soldier kit.
Zack Your welcome  :-)

The last one at present comes from Hawara in Egypt, again said to be Ptolemaic or later:


Theres little to tell from this one except a date in the report "Hawara, Biahmu, and Arsinoe (1889)" pg12-13 suggests it may be very much later perhaps as late as the 4th cent ad, if indeed it is the same shoe? of which I have my doubts... it looks like a turnshoe and can be compared with the previous examples shown.....
These are absolutely intriguing. So much so that I need a pair. In fact I think I'll start today. Question is where to start.I suppose trying to find a pattern online for a medieval turn shoe that resembles one of these?
Has anyone on the forums made turn shoes that you know of? Perhaps it would be worthwhile to start a new thread
Zack just look for "how to make medieval turnshoes" or "turn shoes" on the internet you'll find quite a lot :wink:
Zack, Here's a short list of books that contain substantial information on turnshoes and their construction and contain many patterns, though they are Not manuals "per se" on how to make turnshoes!

*Shoes and Pattens Shoes from Medieval London 12th-15th century.

*Catalogue des chaussures de l'antiquité égyptienne Egyptian shoes in the Louvre, extensive collection with much detail, Ancient to Medieval (or possibly later) French Text.

The Small Finds – Leather and Leatherworking in Anglo-Scandinavian and Medieval York Early to late Medieval Shoes from York, Free legal PDF download.

*Stepping Through Time all types of shoes covered, but no index!

*Archaeological Footwear. Development of shoe patterns and styles from Prehistory till the 1600’s. all types of shoes covered for Europe prehistory on, excellent up to date bibliography.

Primitive Shoes One of my first books along with "Shoes and Pattens" mostly covers shoes from prehistory to the modern day.

*I suggest getting them from a library first....
Another easily accessible book that has a good deal of detail in relation to Turnshoes can be found here:

Catalogue of the footwear in the Coptic Museum Veldmeijer Ikram 2014

I think Sidestone and the Authors should be commended for allowing these brand new books to be read freely online, PDF downloads are very cheap for the range and its growing, support them! purchase and downloading is easy, highly recommended "Five Stars" :wink:

Disclaimer: no connection except a very satisfied customer Confusedmile:
I wonder, as to the usage of turnshoes, particularly in the Ptolemaic context. Would they be used around town or could they be valid in a military setting?
Quote:I wonder, as to the usage of turnshoes, particularly in the Ptolemaic context. Would they be used around town or could they be valid in a military setting?

From Late Antiquity/Early Medieval times on they seem to be, so I don't see why this shouldn't apply to earlier times and don't forget there are quite a few adult Carbatinas from military sites in the west, the use your going to get from them is going to depend on a number factors, the surfaces generally being worn on, how robust the soles are and your manner of walking.... are probably just a few considerations...
The adult "Persian, Ptolemaic" shoes from the temple find have a reinforced sole for example, whereas the smaller sizes don't (or at least don't look like it, but then it probably wouldn't be needed), a number of later Syrian and Coptic shoes also seem to have the same feature during the Roman Empire and beyond...
My own experiences with such shoes is that they will last a long time even on modern surfaces and its relatively easy to repair the soles..
Many original turnshoes show simple repairs to the soles(and uppers) sometimes the repairs are extensive, probably indicating a very long life or at least a great deal of use...
That's my impression for what is worth.....
Quote:I think Sidestone and the Authors should be commended for allowing these brand new books to be read freely online, PDF downloads are very cheap for the range and its growing, support them!

Very true words indeed! That needs to be said, thanks, Ivor!
A tentative reconstruction from Dura Europos, the date is very broad so could be Hellenistic to Roman with local influences... my feeling is its a turnshoe equivalent of a roman 3rd cent calcei but am not certain its correct as its based on a sketch... However comparble shoes exist at Dura from this date.


upper is goatskin 2-2.5mm , sole cowhide 3-3.5mm.