Thingamajig Thursday: the strigil

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In keeping with yesterday's Found Object theme, today I'm naming an archaic thingamajig—something often seen on Greek vases, sculptures and bronze artifacts. Check out the photo below"¦ ever wonder what that funny looking curved thing is the Olympic athletes are often seen holding in their hands?

Well, it's called a strigil, kind of an ancient squeegee, something both the Greeks and Romans used to scrape their skin with after a bath or a good sweat.

Some scholars think the Greek athletes used the strigil to collect scum from their skin after a sweaty competition because it held magical powers and could be offered up to the Gods in gratitude. I know, sorta gross, but worth mentioning.

Incidentally, our word "streak" comes from the Latin, strigilis, which means "to touch lightly." So you see, even the antiquated thingamajig has some trivia worth.

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October 26, 2006 - 4:50am
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