Thingamajig Thursday: the strigil

David K. Israel

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.