Monday, January 21, 2013
Ancient Roman artifacts thought to be early gaming pieces may actually have been used as a form of toilet paper, according to a recent article published in the British Medical Journal.
In the article, Philippe Charlier, assistant professor in forensic medicine at the Raymond Poincaré University Hospital in Paris, presented among other things, a Greek proverb stating, “Three stones are enough to wipe one’s arse,” as evidence that such stones were used to clean up after going to the bathroom.
Other scholars have suggested that broken pieces of ceramic – known as ostraka – inscribed with names like Socrates, Pericles and Themistocles have been found in Piraeus and Athens and were used by the Greeks as a way of ostracizing their enemies, after smoothing out the rough edges, of course.
The ceramic disks – known as pessoi, meaning pepples — range from one to four inches in diameter, have been on display at Fishborne Roman Palace in Chichester, West Sussex, since the 1960′s.
The museum curator, Dr. Rob Symmons, found the revelations to be “hilarious,” and hoped that the artifacts would bring a smile to the faces of visitors.
“I love the idea we’ve had these in the museum for 50 years being largely ignored and now they are suddenly engaging items you can relate to,” Symmons told The Daily Telegraph.