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Spongia (Sponge on a stick)


Toilet paper did not exist in Roman times, yet, of course, they had to wipe... What did they do? The Romans used a "spongia" — this was a sea sponge attached to a long stick. Roman public toilets (military latrines were much the same at bigger fortresses) consisted of a long marble bench with holes at the top (to sit on) and a sort of slot at the front — for the use of the sponge sticks. Most Romans wore a long tunica, with men's reaching the knees and women's being longer, and probably nothing underneath so it was easy to use toilets communally. You would sit on the toilet, (possibly chatting to friends) and when you were finished with your business, you would stick the spongia through the hole at the front, wipe your bottom, rinse it in the channel of running water by your feet and leave it in a basin for the next person to use! Mmmmmm, how fresh!


What do you do with this thing when you're not using it — especially if you're on campaign...To store and carry your spongia, the methods we have seen, are using a thin oiled piece of leather and wrapping it up good and then tying that. Is that what they did? We don't know... they sure didn't have plastic.

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