- Identification and Creation
- Object Number
- Tools and Equipment
- Work Type
- medical instrument
- 1st-4th century CE
- Creation Place: Ancient & Byzantine World, Europe, Rome (Latium)
- Roman Imperial period
- Persistent Link
- Physical Descriptions
- Copper alloy
- 10.5 x 0.45 cm (4 1/8 x 3/16 in.)
- Technical Details
Technical Observations: The patina is a dull gray metallic surface. The object is intact, although the tip is missing.
The cyathiscomele was made by casting the general shape, with some possible working to further shape the flat ends and finish the surface. This instrument has a fragment of wire wrapped around the handle.
Carol Snow (submitted 2002)
- "From Rome" according to Classical Collection index card; received as a gift of H.W. Bell on Feb. 2, 1911.
- Acquisition and Rights
- Credit Line
- Harvard Art Museums/Arthur M. Sackler Museum, Transfer from the Department of the Classics, Harvard University, Gift of H. W. Bell
- Accession Year
- Object Number
- Asian and Mediterranean Art
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Published Catalogue Text: Ancient Mediterranean and Near Eastern Bronzes at the Harvard Art Museums
This cyathiscomele has a very shallow bowl on one end of the smooth shaft and a thin bud-shaped finial on the other. On the tip of the finial is a small sphere. A wire has been looped around the shaft near the finial.
Greek and Roman medical instruments, many of which were described by ancient authors, have been found, sometimes in sets, throughout the ancient world (1). The instruments could have been used for more than one function, making precise classification difficult in some instances. A cyathiscomele is a type of scoop probe, with a spoon terminal at one end and a probe at the other, used for stirring and applying medicines, among other uses, including cosmetic (2).
1. 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.
2. Milne 1907 (supra 1) 61-63; Michaelides 1984 (supra 1) 326; and R. Jackson and S. La Niece, “A Set of Roman Medical Instruments from Italy,” Britannia 17 (1986): 119-67, esp. 158.
- Subjects and Contexts
- Related Works
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