Ancient Roman Green Glass Aryballos


A fine Roman Aryballos blown from translucent pale green glass. Two trailed handles have been applied from the mouth to the shoulder in large pads, folded in and pressed onto the rim. The vessel features a slightly concave base and a bulbous body decorated with spiralling grooves. Within the neck, there is a folded diaphragm with a constricted opening to help control the distribution of the liquid it contained. More expensive liquids, such as perfumes or oils would have been placed in such containers so that their use was easily controlled.

Date: Circa 1st – 3rd Century AD
Condition: Good condition, iridescence and earthly encrustation to the surface.

In stock

Glass was often the preferred material for storing expensive oils, perfumes, and medicines because it was not porous. The small body and mouth allowed the user carefully to pour and control the amount of liquid dispensed. By the 1st century AD, the technique of glass-blowing had revolutionised the art of glass-making, allowing for the production of small medicine, incense, and perfume containers in new forms. These small glass bottles are found frequently at Hellenistic and Roman sites, especially in cemeteries, and the liquids which filled them would have been gathered from all corners of the expansive Roman Empire.

The iridescence on ancient Roman glass was unintentional, and was caused by weathering on its surface. The extent to which a glass object weathers depends mainly on the burial conditions; however, the humidity, heat, and type of soil in which the glass was buried also all affect its preservation.

To find out more about Roman glass please see our relevant blog post: Collecting Roman Glass and Ancient Roman Glass.

Weight 88.9 g
Dimensions W 8.2 x H 8.9 cm



Reference: For a similar item, please see The Met Museum, Item 74.51.139

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