ROMAN GLASSES


Bowl 1st cent. AD

The glass which was produced between 100 BC and 400 AD in Italy, Britain, France, Spain, Belgium, Balkans, Anatolia, North Africa, Cyprus, Syria, Alexandria and in the Roman Empire itself was called the "Roman Glass".

"Pressing into the Mold" technique was widely used between 1st century BC and 1st century AD in Rome for glass bowl making. It was basically forming the glass object by pressing molten glass into the mold. It is thought to be, at least, a two-person job. One was to place the glass mixture into the mold and the other was to press it properly. The mold was used to give the shape to the outside and the press to the inside of the object. This way, the inside and outside of the object could very well loodk different. The bowls made with this technique can easily be distinguished from the others with their apparent ribs. These bowls were usually low and without feet. They varied between 12 cm to 20 cm in diameter. Usually, 15 - 30 characteristic ribs were to reach to the mouth of the bowl starting from the bottom. Roman era glassware 1st cent. AD After the pressing operation was complete they had to be stoned and both surfaces were polished. These widely admired glass bowls were to be found in every Roman city. The early models were usually with a single color but later on they become colorless.

The whole glass production tradition was changed dramatically when the glass blowing technique was invented in Syria, in 50 BC. This new technique made the glass items' production a cheap and widely demanded process everywhere. The only tool necessary was a metal blowing pipe. The molten glass in a storage section in front of this pipe was blown while spinning the material in order to achieve a uniform thickness on the walls of the produced item.

The Roman emperor, Caesar took all glass makers with him to Rome after his invasion of Saida , Sur and Alexandria in 30 BC. This transfer of knowhow brought a big boost to Roman glass-making tradition. Soon after these Syrians and Egyptians reached Rome, a number of new glass making workshops emerged in and around Rome, Naples and Pozzuoli. Also the new Syrian colonies established in Bologne, Amiens, Namur and Reims started to produce large amounts of glassware after the 1st century AD. There are various items in the museums from this era. Some of the early works were made with inner molding technique but the later ones were generally made with the blowing technique. Bottle 1st cent. AD These new centers of glass production started to compete against Syria and Egypt while reflecting some regional features into their products. The famous name of the blowing technique, Ennion was originally from Saida and continued to work in Italy. The new rich Roman aristocracy created a huge market for the works of these local artists and craftsmen.

During the 2nd century the workshops in France and Belgium continued their production. Although the most advanced techniques were created in the east, they soon bacamw widely known as the eastern products reached the new markets in the west. Obviously, regional characteristics, colors, decorative figures and shapes created certain differences between the items from east to west but still they were quite similiar to each other.

The Roman glass making tradition had reached its peak in the 3rd century AD. The artists and craftsmen were influenced by ceramic and metal work designs and traditions of that period. They were usually transparent and had less colors than their predecessors. The metal oxides in the sand had caused a green-blue color but this was intentionally cleaned in certain pieces. Since decoration by cutting had caused light to reflect and scatter, they used transparent glass with this technique.

The Roman glass artifacts can be placed in two large groups; bottles, jugs, mugs, vases, jars, pots and similiar daily-use items in the first group and decorative items used in burial ceremonies and religious services in the second group.



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