What an incredible object! You may have heard of a Swiss Army Knife, it is a pocket knife with many tools attached to it. This is a similar kind of thing, but Roman instead of Swiss.
This one dates to about 200 - 300 AD, so about 1,600 years before the modern Swiss Army Knives were designed. As you can see, the design has hardly changed. As well as a knife, spoon and a fork, this one has a spike, a pick and a spatula. The spike might have been used to get the meat from snails and the pick might have been used as a sort of tooth pick.
The fact that this knife is made of Silver suggests it was a luxury item and might have been owned by a wealthy traveller or a general in the Roman army.
Things to think about...
- Why do you think a multi-tool like this would have been useful?
- Can you imagine what the person who owned this would have been like?
This object is a great way to introduce students to the Roman period. The tools that have made their way onto the knife are suggestive of the way of life for people under the Romans and could be a good starting point for an exploration of the Roman world.
Students can learn more about the equipment used by Roman soldiers with this game from Birmingham Museums.
Also for more information on the Romans you can turn to our handy Topic Guide.
- Eating implement, folding, with three-pronged fork, spatula, pick, spike and knife.
- What an incredible object! You may have heard of a Swiss Army Knife, it is a pocket knife with many tools attached to it. This is a similar kind of thing, but Roman instead of Swiss.