Core-formed and cut glass vessels were first produced in Egypt and Mesopotamia as early as the fifteenth century BC. However, it wasn't until the mid first-millennium BC that such vessels were being imported to the Italian peninsula.
During the Republic 509-27 BC, glass vessels were being used as tableware or as containers for expensive oils, perfumes and for medicines. Initial production was limited to Etruria and Magna Graecia (now part of southern Italy). However, by the mid first century AD the Roman glass industry was thriving.
Rome's emergence as the dominant military, political and economic power in the Mediterranean was a key factor in attracting skilled glassmakers to set up their workshops. This roughly coincided with the invention of glass blowing, an invention which revolutionized ancient glass production.
Glassblowing allowed craftsmen to make a greater variety of shapes than before. Glass vessels were attractive, nonporous, translucent and odourless which encouraged people to change their tastes. Glass drinking cups rapidly displaced native pottery equivalents to the extent that the production some pottery vessels ceased altogether by the mid first century AD.
Roman glass antiquities are some of the most collectable artefacts available and look spectacular displayed in a lit cabinet.
Condition: Fine. Small stable hairline crack to neck and spots of white limescale.
Dimensions: Height 50mm; Width 36mm.
Provenance: Ex. Janus Antiquities.