Very Fine Roman Olive Probe

£ 300.00

An Ancient Roman medical and cosmetic bronze instrument, usually classified as a type of a specialised probe, known in Ancient Greek as cyathiscomele. The instrument features an elongated flattened, olive-shaped end, with an incised torqued body and decorative rings above. The other end of the instrument terminates in a sharp point, ideal for inspecting wounds. Probes of this type would have used for extracting cosmetics and ointments from narrow storing glass vessels. This instrument was probably part of a larger medical or cosmetics kit.

Date: Circa 1st-3rd Century AD
Condition: Very fine, intact, with a beautiful green patina on the surface.


Product Code: RES-27
Category: Tags: ,

The fine work and delicate details shown in this beautiful example of Roman everyday item demonstrate the mastery that Ancient Romans had in working and modelling bronze. Deriving knowledge from Greeks, Etruscans, Egyptians, Persians and other conquered peoples, the Romans came up with one of the best and most sophisticated medical system of the Ancient World. Probes, such as this beautiful example were popular surgical and cosmetic tools across the Roman Empire, used as sounds, but also to mix, measure and apply medicaments, balms and cosmetics. Hence probes were pharmaceutical instruments rather than strictly surgical instruments. The pointed end was used to inspect wounds, while the olive-shaped end would have been use to mix, measure and apply medicaments.

To discover more about Roman medical tools, visit our relevant post: Roman Medical Tools.


Dimensions L 18 cm

Southern Europe



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