Corroded Roman Strigil
source: Wikimedia Commons
A photograph shows a corroded bronze strigil, tinted green with age. It features a looped handle and a concave hook typical of Greco-Roman strigils. Corrosion has eaten away at the edges of the tool, giving it a fragile appearance.
Artifact: 200 BC–500 AD
Photo: October 2014
This bronze strigil is typical of those used in bathing and grooming in Greco-Roman culture. These tools would be used to scrape foreign substances off the skin, typically before bathing. In Greek culture, athletes would coat themselves with olive oil, which would mingle with sweat and dirt during training. (Palé wrestlers would even purposefully throw dust on their anointed skin for increased grip.) They would use these strigils to scrape off this substance, which would sometimes be saved and congealed for use as a medical salve.
At the time of photograph, this artifact was housed in the Science Museum in London.
Richter, G. M. (2008). Greek, Etruscan and Roman bronzes. Lindemann Press.
Sansone, D. (1992). Greek Athletics and the Genesis of Sport. University of California Press.