A “Roman army knife” from 2,000 years ago

A 2000-year-old tool that has gone on display in a Cambridge museum has been taken as proof that the Romans invented the Swiss army knife.

The Roman version of the famous multi-purpose tool includes a spoon, knife, three pronged fork, spike and even what looks like a toothpick.

At only 15cm long it would have fitted easily into the pocket of a discerning diner and is easy to clean and sharpen thanks to the silver and iron used to make it.

The Roman eating implement has been estimated to date from between 201 to 300 AD and originates from the Mediterranean region of Europe.

The tool is currently on display for the first time at the Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge.

Lucy Theobald, a spokesperson for the museum, said: “It’s believed to be an example of a Roman ‘Swiss army knife’ – a silver implement with a knife, spoon, fork, a spike for extracting meat from snails, and a spatula, which is believed to have been used for poking sauce out of narrow-necked bottles.”

No plastic, either. Every bit is repairable or easily replaceable. If you don’t remember when repairing things used to be part of design.

2 thoughts on “A “Roman army knife” from 2,000 years ago

  1. PapaTom says:

    I think the spike is a leather punch. Going further out on a limb, given the hoof tool and the silver I put this tool in the pouch of a young company grade mounted officer.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.