Sunday, April 25, 2010

Your shoes make you look like a crazy person.

No really. Your shoes are two hops away from an incestuous relationship with your siblings and declaring your horse a senator.

Now, I know people will do a lot for fashion, but some trends should just stay dead after, say, 41 AD. I refer to of course, the gladiator sandal.

Now, I can understand the urge to wear flat shoes as much as the next person. But don't you see what is happening!?

No, you probably don't, since no one's mind works quite like mine.

Let me give you a brief history of 'gladiator sandals' as a fashion trend.

Caligae (Latin; singular caliga) are heavy-soled military shoes or sandals which were worn by Roman legionary soldiers and auxiliaries throughout the history of the Roman Republic and Empire. The sandals were constructed from leather and laced up the center of the foot and onto the top of the ankle. Additionally, iron hobnails were hammered into the sole, serving three purposes: to reinforce the shoes, to provide better traction, and best of all, to allow the shoes to be used as a weapon when kicking ass and taking names.

So at what point did these very handy, very deadly shoes make the jump from weapon to fashion? It started with a little boy named Gaius Julius Caesar Augustus Germanicus. His father, Germanicus was the star of the Roman war world, a military commander loved by all. While off killing us crazed Germanic peoples, young Gaius would accompany Germanicus, dressed in a cute little soldier outfit, complete with a harmless, fashionable pair of caligae, earning himself the nickname Little Boots, or Caligula.

Now you see where I'm going with this. Caligula wore his caligae throughout his life; when he became emperor they were covered in gold and jewels. Because of his visionary sense of fashion, Gwyneth Paltrow will never have to wear closed toe shoes again.

But, to get back to my original point, let me tell you all the crazy things Caligula did. Things that I believe happened as a direct result from his brain being poisoned by ugly shoes (or... you know... syphilis).

Caligula was emperor for only four years, and was well loved at the beginning of his reign. Things started to change however when he Caligula started cross-dressing in public, impregnated his own sister (he married her first of course, because... that makes it better), built a bridge of boats across the Bay of Naples (so he could take his chariot for a drive), declared war on the Greek god Poseidon (bringing back chests full of worthless seashells as booty from their 'war'), and topped it all off by declaring himself a god. Not to mention he killed lots and lots and lots of people.

And lets not forget his relationship with his horse, Incitatus. Caligula love him so well that the horse was provided with the best of the best. According to Suetonius's Lives of the Twelve Caesars, Incitatus had a stable of marble, with an ivory manger, purple blankets, and a collar of precious stones. Others have indicated that the horse was attended to by eighteen servants, and was fed oats mixed with gold flake. Caligula even procured him a wife, a mare named Penelope.

Incitatus was named not only a citizen of Rome, but a member of the Roman senate. The horse would "invite" dignitaries to dine with him in a house outfitted with servants there to entertain such events. Some say that Caligula made Incitatus a consul (the highest elected office in the whole empire).

I hope that this information will encourage you to shop responsibly when it comes to shoes.

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