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Skyphos, Southern Italy, 400-375 BCE

  • Science Museum, London
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Credit: Skyphos, Southern Italy, 400-375 BCE. Science Museum, London. Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0)

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A skyphos is a drinking cup with two handles. This one is decorated with an image of a young man holding a strigil. Part of the bathing and personal hygiene routine in ancient Rome involved cleaning the body with oil. Having rubbed the oil in, a strigil was used to scrape away any excess as well as any dead skin and dirt. Athletes scraped their skin with strigils to remove dirt, dust and oil from their bodies after exercise. This was sometimes bottled and sold as a medical treatment called gloios to relieve aches, pains and sprains. artist: Wellcome Painter Place made: Apulia, Italy


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