Ancient Roman Firestarters

ancient roman firestarter

Thriving societies had to have a reliable method of starting fire for cooking and heat.

Starting a fire is hard work yet so essential to modern society that tools were created to assist with making fire.

Firestarters were so handy in Ancient Rome that most households and military battalions had them.  Everyone needed fire on a daily basis.  It was the utility tool of the day.

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Roman History

The firestarter was a small handheld piece of metal, typically iron or bronze.  Shaped to fit in the hand, it was used along with a flint stone to spark onto tinder.  Tinder was usually pieces of dry, prepared huge tree mushrooms.  The flint was struck against the starter in the direction of the tinder, in order to throw large numbers of sparks at the tinder to ignite the fire.

This tool was normally made from iron and varies in size and weight but generally weighed around 350 gm.

Starters were designed such that they could be easily gripped and used to strike a rock. These tools were simple, and typically shaped to fit around 2-3 fingers, 2 1/2 to 3 1/2 inches across.  Some elaborate ones have been found that have crosses, horses, lamps, or other image or insignia.

Firestarters were also used to make arrowheads, scrapers and knives.  Strong and durable, they could file down wood, bone, or other materials for arrowheads.  They were used as knife sharpeners to make or sharpen a blade on a knife.



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