Roman 'Swiss Army Knife'

Contributed by The Fitzwilliam Museum

Roman 'Swiss Army Knife'

From about 500 BC the state of Rome saw an increase in personal wealth, acquired through conquest or business. Often made in bronze the complexity of this travellers tool and the fact that it is made of silver suggests that it was an object of luxury, denoting the wealth of its owner. As well as a knife, spoon and fork it has a spike, spatula and pick allowing the user to prise snails from their shells, get sauce out of narrow necked bottles and clean between their teeth after eating.

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  • 3 comments
  • 1. At 18:33 on 29 May 2010, markalilly wrote:

    'travellers tool' should read 'traveller's tool'.

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  • 2. At 16:44 on 31 August 2010, globaldimension wrote:

    or maybe "travellers' tool"?

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  • 3. At 06:08 on 3 September 2010, Meisam wrote:

    The can had not been invented till that time, otherwise we could have seen a can opener in among the tools. The spike would have been an inefficient tool for cleaning the teeth. I wonder if they had had toothbrushes!

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500 BC

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