• jpkenwood

Roman scissors

Remember the infamous bit from Monty Python’s Life of Brian: “What did the Romans ever do for us?”

One invention that has changed little over time is a pair of scissors. According to general opinion, ‘spring scissors’ were first invented by the ancient Egyptians around 1500 BC. The Roman invention of cross-bladed scissors appears to have happened around 100 AD, less than a decade before our story takes place. The Latin word for scissors is forfex.


Made from iron or bronze, cross-bladed scissors were used by fabric makers (fullers) and barbers. There is a tiny bit of evidence that there were also surgical scissors used by physicians on and off the battlefield. Scissors make an important cameo in Games of Rome.



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