The ancient Roman empire was an eclectic mix of some of the finest innovations, inventions, and imagination the world has ever seen. The Roman people were expert at making any new idea revealed in their travels and conquests their own. They set those ideas to work in daily life. Any thriving society had to have a reliable method of starting fire for cooking, warmth, or other reasons, especially away from home or in military camps. For these reasons, people began to carry around a firestarter.
Starting a fire can be hard work yet so essential to modern society that tools were created to assist with making fire such as ancient Roman Firestarters. Firestarters were normally made from Iron used with a flint rock and tinder to generated a spark. Roman firestarters can very in size and weighing around 350 gm. Starters were designed such that they could be easily gripped and used to strike a rock.
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.
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.
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. However, most were just shaped to fit the fingers when balled to a fist. This was a basic tool, but a necessary one.
Firestarters were so handy that most households and military battalions had them. Everyone needed fire on a daily basis. It was the utility tool of the day. For fire or blade, home or army camp, the firestarter was a Roman tool not to be left behind.
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