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Copy of a set of two Roman strigils, Europe, 1880-1920

Part of the bathing and personal hygiene routine in ancient Rome involved cleaning the body with oil. Having rubbed the oil in, a strigil was used to scrape away any excess as well as any dead skin and dirt. Athletes also used strigils to remove dirt, dust and oil from their bodies after exercise. This was sometimes bottled and sold as a medical treatment called gloios to relieve aches, pains and sprains. This is a typical example made from bronze with a claw-like shape. The original dates from 200 BCE-200 CE.

Object number:

A635507

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Glossary:

Glossary: hygiene

The science of health and how to maintain it. A condition or practice which promotes good health. The definition varies widely and differs across cultures.

Glossary: strigil

A metal or ivory instrument used to scrape skin. Used in ancient Greece and Rome to scrape the skin clear of dirt.