All texts and graphics are subject to applicable copyrights.
Use of the texts only by express written consent.

Room 3
The First Stockings    
     

Knit Arabic cotton stocking
(presumably 1300-1100 BC).

Arabs - presumably one of the pre-Christian cultures
that had an major influence on the development
and spreading of the knitting technique.

   

Enlarged graphics open in a new window.

First evidence of knit stockings can be found in Egypt in Coptic graves. However, there is no evidence of knitting needles, so the general assumption is that the "Egyptian stockings" were actually imported, and originally made by the Phoenicians.

 

Egyptian children's socks with toe separations for sandal straps, found in a Coptic grave, 4th century AD.

 

Knit children's sock,
4th century AD.

 

 

Stockings did not play a major role in the cultural areas around the Mediterranean Sea due to the climate. As known today, only old or sick people in ancient Rome wore so-called "Socci". The Roman "Soccus" was a low-cut slip-on shoe, which could be made from leather, wool, canvas or felt.

 

The first knit socks - so-called socci - emerged in the Roman age and probably stemmed from simple strap-shoes

Before the Christian era, knit stockings were unknown by the Germanic people living in the North. Their pants and calf-wraps were tied together with straps starting at the ankles.  

Germanic clothing at the beginning of the Christian era.

   

 

Buckles found in the richly furnished Alemmanic graves from the 4th to 7th century AD gave evidence of the continuing existence of calf-wraps as legwear. As it seems, leg-wraps with straps in combination with long pants continued to be the main type of legwear until well into the 9th century BC. Decorated straps worn as legwear are even found in descriptions of the clothing worn by Franconian kings.

 

Germanic clothing of the 3rd and 4th centuries AD.

 

Buckling device from a richly furnished Alemmanic women's grave, 6th century AD.

 

Depiction of the Franconian king Carl the Bald (768-814) with ornamented ribbons worn as legwear.

 

Wrapped long pants of the Carolingian traditional clothing, 8th century AD.

   

 

The Roman "soccus" was probably also known by the Germanic people. The archeological find of an East-Germanic pair of pants with an attached sock from the end of the 2nd or beginning of the 3rd century AD (found in the Moor of Thorsberg in the German state Schleswig-Holstein) leads to this assumption. These "tights" also seem to have been used by the Romans, and were accepted by the Franconians in the 9th century.

 

Alemmanic pants with an attached sock from the find in the Moors near Thorsberg, 2nd/3rd century AD.

 

Roman slave delivering a pair of tights, end of the 3rd / beginning of the 4th century AD. Wall painting in a Roman turret grave near Silistra (Bulgaria).

 

Depiction of a Franconian emperor from the 9th century AD.

   

 

The knee-length sewn stocking, which was widespread throughout Germanic areas beginning in the first century AD, is presumed to stem from the "soccus" (the low slip-on shoe of the Romans) and the sewn socks of the Germanic people. By the 9th century AD, this stocking had developed into a long stocking or "legging", maybe even into tights, as depicted in drawing of the Franconian traditional wear.

 

Sewn Germanic stocking,
app. 100 AD.

 

Traditional wear of the Franconian royal court in the 9th and 10th centuries AD.

     

 

to room 4: The 10th and 11th Centuries AD.

back