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The Toy Museum of Catalonia

Rattle

<p>Reproduction of a rattle from the Roman period (2nd century &ndash; first half of the 3rd century AD) made of bronze and found in Tarragona. Photo: &copy;&nbsp;MJC</p>

Reproduction of a rattle from the Roman period (2nd century – first half of the 3rd century AD) made of bronze and found in Tarragona. Photo: © MJC

The rattle or zing-zing was the first real toy that a Greek or Roman baby would receive. Made of terracotta or metal, it contained small grains, pebbles or coins and when shaken made a sound meant to distract and get babies’ attention or calm them down. It has also been ascribed a sacred purpose, since it seems it would have also served to ward off evil spirits as a talisman or amulet. The shape of these objects could vary. There were some shaped like an animal, while others, like this one, were formed by two disks joined together.

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