Romano-Celtic Bronze Razor


A Romano-Celtic bronze razor, with remains of the iron blade. The humpback shape indicates that this part would have been used as the handle. Along the humped section, there are eight perforated holes, and these would have held eight bronze rings (four of which still remain). There is punched-point geometric detailing on each face, creating a design of chevrons and arrows, though this detailing may be in imitation of ‘VIV’ (short for ‘vivat’ – “may he/she live”).

Date: 2nd - 1st Century BC
Provenance: UK art market, acquired prior to 1980.
Condition: Very good condition.


Poor preservation makes razors often hard to distinguish from other general use tools. Typically, as is the case with this razor, the blade of the utensil is made of iron, whilst the body is bronze. The inscription reads ‘VIV’ – ‘vivat’ (“may he/she live”). Perhaps it acted as a blessing for the owner of the razor, or provided some form of protection. The term was also often used with reference to the emperor: ‘Vivat Imperator Romae diutissime’ – “May the emperor of Rome live a very long life!”

Weight 35.6 g
Dimensions L 12 cm