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History and art of Roman glass making

History of the glass making History of the glass making
Glassmaking was invented in the ancient times, well before the Roman Empire. It has a very long history.Since approximately 1500 BCE colored glass was made in Egypt and Syria (Mesopotamian Empire). As the Roman Empire became fully established and expanded, Romans absorbed the technologies of the people they conquered, modified them and made them their own. “Roman” glass blowing techniques were further developed and spread. With the invention of the blowing pipe technique, glass making was completely modernized and glass could be freely shaped by hand. Under the reign of the first Emperor Augustus (1st century BC) glass-making became an important industry in the Roman Empire. Glass bottles were widespread in the ancient Roman Empire and were used for oil, perfume, kohl and a whole range of other cosmetics, medicines, and ointments. It was also affordable for middle-class citizens and large quantities of glassware were made 
    

The picture shows Ancient Roman Kiln, used for glassware making. Exhibited at the Museum of Regional and Mediterranean Archeology, Gan Hashlosha ( Nir David), Israel

The Art of making Roman glass
Roman glass was made by using sand, alkali, sodium carbonate, coloring agents (metals) and was formed with burning seaweed and lime. Roman glass was produced in a large range of colors,

The Art of making Roman glass

 patterns and frequently complex techniques. It was an art, created by skilled craftsmen.Metals were used to make many colorful variations. Copper was used to making turquoise to light blue, green, red or opaque red colored glass. Some addition of cobalt made the glass dark blue. A yellowish and purple glass was created by the use of manganese and antimony to make the glass opaque yellow or opaque white. Also, iron was used to make a light blue, green, brown and black color. To tell the whole truth – at the present, we don’t know precisely about all of its components.The Art of making Roman glass was partially lost. So far we heard even about some long forgotten plants and herbs that were essential.

 

The picture shows Ancient Roman glass bottles. Exhibited at the Museum of Regional and Mediterranean Archeology, Gan Hashlosha ( Nir David), Israel