EXHIBITS > Measuring instruments, tools and machines of the ancient Greeks >
It was a tool for boring holes. It consisted of a cylindrical wooden spindle which, at its bottom end, had an iron (or formerly volcanic glass) point and a wooden handle to allow free rotation. The latter was achieved either by the reciprocating motion of a wooden bow whose string was wound around the spindle or the sequential pulling of the two ends of a strap that was wrapped (inside a case) helically on the spindle. Without the point, it was used (as a lighter) to light fire.
SOURCES: "Homer, Odyssey, I384-386", "Pollux, Lexicon"