Published Catalogue Text: Ancient Mediterranean and Near Eastern Bronzes at the Harvard Art Museums
The bending of this instrument may be intentional, as the bend in the center, at least, creates a finger grip. The small bowl of the scoop at one end is regularly shaped. The opposite end is blunt; from there the shaft tapers slightly toward the bowl. A probe in Paris has a similarly bent shaft (1).
Greek and Roman medical instruments, many of which were described by ancient authors, have been found, sometimes in sets, throughout the ancient world (2). The instruments could have been used for more than one function, making precise classification difficult in some instances. Scoop probes could be used for stirring and applying medicines, cleaning ears or other, including cosmetic, uses (3).
1. See J. Bonnet et al., eds., Le Bronzes Antiques de Paris (Paris, 1989) 290, no. 270.
2. J. S. Milne, Surgical Instruments in Greek and Roman Times (Oxford, 1907) 1-9; and D. Michaelides, “A Roman Surgeon’s Tomb from Nea Paphos,” Report of the Department of Antiquities, Cyprus, 1984: 315-32, esp. 321-23.
3. Milne 1907 (supra 2) 61-68; Michaelides 1984 (supra 2) 325-36; R. Jackson and S. La Niece, “A Set of Roman Medical Instruments from Italy,” Britannia 17 (1986): 119-67, esp. 157-58.