- Glass Making in Roman Times
- Roman Wine: A Window on an Ancient Economy
- Roman Wine: Windows on a Lifestyle
- Fine Glassware in the Roman World
- Reuse of Images in the Art of Rogier van der Weyden
Ht., 1604 cm
2nd century A.D.
Inv. MS 5621
"Vessels should be either earthenware or glass, and should be numerous rather than large, and some of them should be properly treated with pitch, but some in their natural state as the condition of the material preserved demands." (Columella, On Agriculture XII.4)
For long distance sea- and river-borne transport of domestic consumables such as wine, olive oil, and fish sauce (garum), the Romans used pottery amphorae with a capacity of six gallons or more. Once these consumables reached a city's warehouses, however, they would be decanted into glass vessels with a capacity of about a pint or two. Bottled and jars could be loaded onto hand-carts and taken to the thousands of retail shops that were scattered throughout the city's narrow streets.
Any of the bottles that were carted to outlying towns or villas eventually became storage containers in someone's kitchen or cellar, Others were re-filled and packed off to another market in a neighboring region. An ongoing cycle of sale, storage, emptying, and refilling—perhaps with a different liquid each time—gave some bottles a useful life of many decades, and a range of travel many times greater than the original one.
"The Laden Ox-cart"
Detail from a floor mosaic in a guest house at Orbe, in Switzerland
3rd century A.D.