Ancient Roman Glass Aryballos with Two Handles


A fine Ancient Roman flask blown in dark purple glass, featuring a squat globular body with sunken shoulders leading to a long, cylindrical neck with an out-splayed folded rim. The vessel sits on a flat but slightly concave base. Two trailed handles in pale green have been applied from the rim to the shoulder with the ends folded in and pressed onto the glass. An additional light green trailing has been applied in the form of a horizontal loop around the middle of the neck. The lower part of the neck is slightly constricted which helped control the distribution of the liquid it contained. More expensive fluids, such as perfume or oils, would have been placed in such containers so that their use was easily controlled. Beautiful blue iridescence covers the surface along with earthy encrustation.

Date: Circa 4th Century AD
Condition: Very fine condition

In stock

SKU: WF-15 Category: Tags: , ,

Glass was often the preferred material for storing expensive oils, perfumes, and medicines because it was not porous. The small body and mouth of the vessels allowed the user to carefully 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. The new technique allowed craftsmen to use smaller amounts of glass for each vessel and obtain much thinner walls, so enabling the creation 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. Different minerals were added to create a variety of colours; the purple tint seen in this piece would have been created by adding manganese.

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

Weight 109.2 g
Dimensions W 6.7 x H 9.1 cm



Reference: For a similar item,The Metropolitan Museum, item 17.194.118

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