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Roman glass

This post is also available in: Polish (polski)

A collection of Roman glass vessels in the collection of the Museum at Castle Colchester, erected on the foundations of the Temple of Claudius
A collection of Roman glass vessels in the collection of the Museum at Castle Colchester, erected on the foundations of the Temple of Claudius.

The glass was not an invention of the Romans. In many ancient lands, efforts were made to find light-transmitting material that could be used to cover window openings, previously covered with wooden blinds. Various materials were experimented in the Hellenic world: grease-soaked cloth, thin plaster tiles, mica and a horn. For hundreds of years wealthy people have advised you in this way. However, as glass was learned over time, it began to displace other materials.

The Egyptians made significant progress in the production of glass. The Phoenicians took over this technology from them and significantly improved it. They produced glass transparent enough to be used as glass, and mastered the method of blowing glass, which made glassware much cheaper to produce, making it affordable for a much larger part of the population, with higher levels of society drinking from transparent pots and lower levels of the glassware. they used opaque glass dishes.

In Rome, window panes appeared at the end of the existence of the republic. Initially, they had the character of cloudy and uneven glass discs, inserted into small round skylights. However, progress in this area has been rapid. Already in the first century CE modern transparent panes were common in Italy, and glassmaking spilled over into the provinces of the Empire, primarily Gaul. What’s more, glass was also used to build a greenhouse – mainly cucumbers were grown in boxes covered with glass panes (speculares).

A collection of Roman glass vessels in the collection of the Colchester Castle Museum, erected on the foundations of the temple of Claudius.

Phoenician methods of blowing glass spread throughout the Empire. In the time of the reign of Tiberius, the production of glassware was already so developed that their manufacturers could be tempted to compete with manufacturers of metal cookware.

Glass drinking vessels were very popular in ancient Rome, and for the needs of the rich, very elaborate and ornate goblets were made of transparent glass in various colors.

Author: Krzysztof Kaucz (translated from Polish: Jakub Jasiński)
  • L. Sprague De Camp, Wielcy i Mali Twórcy Cywilizacji, Warszawa, 1973, s. 249
  • Zdjęcia autora

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