It is a greek term meaning stick sponge (Xylospongium). It was an implement that was used to clean public latrines, similar to today's brushes. In many texts it appears as if it were used in public baths for cleaning after defecating in a public bath, therefore this anti-religious practice was a vector in the spread of infectious diseases.
Greek term, xylon, wooden stick and spongos, sponge, which the Romans also called tersorious, tergeo, drying, rubbing, cleaning. A stick with a sea sponge at one end with which the Romans wiped their ass in public latrines. Thus they shared all the gut bacteria even though they left it in a dissolution of water, vinegar and salt. In issue 70 of the Letters to Lucilius in which he speaks of suicide, Seneca refers to this instrument in these terms : . . . lignum id quod ad emundanda obscena adhaerente spongia positum est . . . ( the stick located in the latrine to clean the droppings ).