Abstract: Dress Boots of the Roman Emperors


While a great deal of scholarship has been devoted to military statues as imperial portraits and some work has been done on their cuirass ornaments, my findings indicate that little has been done regarding the stylistic variations of the imperial military footwear, specifically the dress boots worn by the emperors and illustrated on portrait statues or imperial reliefs. Using examples from the Julio-Claudian through the Antonine periods, I propose to explore the boot styles and demonstrate that each emperor had his own distinctive dress boot. I do not intend to discuss or illustrate every example of every individual portrait, but to use the best preserved or most indicative example of dress boots for each of several emperors. My purpose is ask whether a stylistic chronology for military dress boots based upon known and datable imperial cuirass portraits can be established. In-depth study into stylistic differences found among the imperial military dress boots together with a chronological classification could be useful in dating portraits or reliefs that have similarly styled boots but for which the chronological context is missing or not well established.
Suggested Bibliography/Websites:
Judith L. Sebesta and Larissa Bonfante "The World of Roman Costume."

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