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RB1507

A Roman Bronze Cataract Needle (Acus) , Roman Period, ca.1st Century A.D.

of cast bronze, the handle inlaid with silver. The cataract needle (acus) was said to be pointed sufficiently to penetrate the eye, but not so narrow as to be unable to break up the cataract (Cels. 7. 7. 14D; Jackson 1994b: 177;  Künzl: 1983: 26-7; Milne 1907: 74-5). The operation seems to have been common, or at least known about, for Martial accuses one doctor of being very careless by stating that a gladiator had formally been an eye doctor, but technically he was still performing the same job (8. 74).

Reference: Milne, J. 1907. " Surgical Instruments in Greek and Roman Times". Oxford.
Jackson, R. 1996. " Eye Medicine in the Roman Empire. Aufstieg und Niedergang der romischen Welt". II. 37. 3. Berlin and New York: Walter de Gruyter, pp. 2,228-51.
Künzl, E. 1983. " Medizinische Instrumente aus Sepulkralfunden der römischen Kaiserzeit". Cologne: Rheinland Verlag GmbH.
Celsus. " De Medicina". W. G. Spencer (Trans.) 1971. (Loeb). Cambridge MA and London: Harvard University Press and William Heinemann Ltd.

Dimensions:Length: 5 inches (13 cm)

Condition:Complete, needle point reattached otherwise in very good condition overall. A fine and rare example.

Provenance:Private Maryland collection, acquired from the London trade in 2004, and previously in a private UK collection.

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