Objects like this thumb were left at healing sanctuaries and other religious sites as offerings to gods such as Asklepios, the Greco-Roman god of medicine. It was intended either to indicate the part of the body that needed help or as thanks for a cure. Made from bronze or terracotta, as in this case, a large range of different votive body parts were made and offered up in their thousands. Although it originated in earlier cultures, this practice became very popular in Roman Italy – particularly between the 400s and 100s BCE. Perhaps this donor left the thumb because his or hers was broken or sore?
Related Themes and Topics
There are 548 related objects. View all related objects
Glossary: votive offering
Objects or monuments donated by an individual for a public place or shrine. The object is usually given in gratitude for deliverance from distress.