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The oldest known sandals (and the oldest known footwear of any type) were discovered in Fort Rock Cave in the U.S.state of Oregon; radiocarbon dating of the sagebrush bark from which they were woven indicates an age of at least 10,000 years.
The word sandal is of Greek origin. The ancient Greeks distinguished between baxeae (sing. baxea), a sandal made of willow leaves, twigs, or fibres worn by comic actors and philosophers; and the cothurnus, a boot sandal that rose above the middle of the leg, worn principally by tragic actors, horsemen, hunters, and by men of rank and authority. The sole of the latter was sometimes made much thicker than usual by the insertion of slices of cork, so as to add to the stature of the wearer.
The ancient Egyptians wore sandals made of palm-leaves and papyrus. They are sometimes observable on the feet of Egyptian statues and in reliefs, being carried by sandal-bearers. According to Herodotus, sandals of papyrus were a part of the required and characteristic dress of the Egyptian priests.
In ancient Greece sandals were the most common type of shoes that women wore and spent most of their time at home. The Greek sandals featured a multitude of straps with which they securely fastened to the foot. The top of the sandals were usually of colored leather. The soles were made of cattle skin, of even better quality and made up of several layers. In ancient Rome residents used to carve their boots and sandals with elaborate designs.
In Ancient Levant sandals ("Biblical sandals") were made from non-processed leather and dry grass, and had strings or ropes made of simple, cheap materials. Though, sometimes golden or silver beads and even gems were added.