Journal of Archaeology in the Low Countries 1-1 (May 2009)Stijn Heeren: New views on the forfex of Virilis the veterinarian: shears, emasculator or twitch?
2 Twitch or castration clamp?

2.3 The decorated pincers from London

Fig. 4 shows a pair of dented pincers in bronze, decorated with large horse heads at the top, close to the hinge, and slightly smaller heads of several divinities and bulls along the arms of the object, and finally lion heads forming the knob of the handles. An argument against an interpretation as a twitch could be that the heads on the London pincers depict both horse and cattle, and that a twitch is not used on cattle (or at least not in the same form). However, the presence of divinities and lions make clear that the heads are not necessarily connected to the function of the object. Most likely the heads are symbolic in nature, referring to a ritual use of the object, not to the specific function.


Fig. 4 The decorated pincers from London (after Kolling 1973, Tafel 70).