Xylospongium – the Roman progenitor of toilet paper

(ORDO NEWS) — The xylospongium or tersorium (lat. Tersorium), also known as the “sponge on a stick”, was a hygienic device that the ancient Romans used to remove fecal residue from the anus. The xylospongium consisted of a stick (lat. Xylon) and a sea sponge (lat. Porifera) at one end.

Xylospongiums were common tools for everyone who visited public latrines. To clean the sponge after use, it was rinsed in a bucket of water and salt (or vinegar).

Needless to say, this “hygiene” was a breeding ground for bacteria, leading to the spread of various diseases, especially in military camps.

Fortunately, the Americans turned the xylospongium into an indispensable toilet brush, and the Romans still have a passion for cleaning the perineum after going to the toilet, but today they do it with the help of a hygienic bidet, which is in every toilet in Italy.


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