Length: 5.000 inches
Room 69: Greek and Roman life
Ivory comb of Modestina
Roman, probably 3rd-4th century AD
A comb bearing the owner's name
This double-sided comb probably came from a woman's grave. The inscription has sometimes been explained as Modestina Vale ('Modestina, farewell'), but in that case the final word would be mis-spelt. It is therefore more likely that the last four letters are initials, perhaps standing for an expression meaning an admirable and outstanding woman.
, A guide to the exhibition illu, 3rd ed. (London, British Museum, 1929)