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Oculist's stamp

 

Height: 39.000 mm
Width: 39.000 mm

P&EE 1931 2-11 1

Room 49: Roman Britain

    Oculist's stamp

    Roman Britain, 1st-4th century AD
    From Kenchester, Herefordshire

    Patent medicines in Roman Britain

    This small stone stamp was used for marking semi-solid sticks of eye-ointment (collyria) before they hardened. The dies on the edge of the stamp are engraved with abbreviated Latin inscriptions in reverse. When stamped into the ointment, the impressions could be read correctly.

    This example has the name of Titus Vindacius Ariovistus, probably the maker of the ointments, and names that would identify different types: 'nard-oil salve', 'green-salve', 'infallible salve' and 'frankincense salve'. The name 'Senior' cut into the planar faces may be that of a healer who used the stamp and ointments.