TITLE: Strigil CULTURE: Roman PERIOD: 1st – 3rd Century AD MATERIAL: Bronze DIMENSIONS: Length 20.4 cm REF: 20142227 PRICE: 2,700 Euros PROVENANCE: Private collection of A.L., Swiss, acquired between 1962 and 1970. CONDITION: In a good state of preservation, intact. DESCRIPTION: The strigil is a tool for the cleansing of the body by scraping off dirt, perspiration, and oil that were applied before bathing. In Ancient Greek and Roman cultures the strigil was primarily of use to men, specifically male athletes. However, in Etruscan culture there is evidence of strigils being used by both sexes.
The standard design is a curved blade with a handle, all of which is made of metal. Strigils are often found in tombs or burials in some cases along with a bottle of oil. Strigils were not only significant in a practical sense, but culturally as well. Strigils were commonly used by individuals that were engaging in vigorous activities, in which they were accumulating large amounts of dirt and sweat on their bodies.
The individuals that used the strigil varied from athletes, the wealthy, soldiers, and more. However, the wealthy or prestigious individuals often had slaves to wield the strigils and clean their bodies, rather than doing it themselves.