“Manus Fica” amulet

Photo: Kent County Council CC By SA2.0
Object type: Amulet
Period: Roman
Primary material: Copper alloy
Date found: 28/11/2022
Location: Sevenoaks, Kent


A Roman copper-alloy amulet dating to c. AD 75 – 120. It is in the form of the manus fica (“fig hand”) gesture where the thumb is wedged between the index and middle finger. Used a lot on Roman pendants and mounts to ward of the evil eye. It’s possibly a bit obscene, and may have alluded to a verbal pun for a vagina.