Small glass bottles, such as this fine example, were extremely popular throughout the Roman and Byzantine, since they contained perfume and oil, considered precious at the time and often used both in private life and public ceremonies. This type of vessels was probably used in funerary and burial rituals, hence their frequent occurrence in archaeological excavations of ancient cemeteries. Most of the Byzantine glass workshops were in Thessaloniki, a centre of production from the late Roman imperial period onwards. Decorative motives driven from Christianity were extremely popular in Byzantine art. As seen on this magnificent example of Byzantine glass, the Christian cross has been used to decorate the base of the vessel’s.
To find out more about Roman and Byzantine glass please see our relevant blog post: Collecting Roman Glass.