Meaning in the Making: Representing Glass Production in Imperial Rome

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This chapter investigates Roman imperial discourse around glassmaking and glassblowing. An analysis of several literary texts which depict these processes (by Pliny the Elder, Mesomedes of Crete, and an anonymous poet of the 3rd century CED) and of a visual representation of glassblowing on an oil lamp highlights several key elements of the Roman discourse surrounding the creation of glass objects, including the notion of glass as an ‘imperial composite’, the agency of fire in its making and shaping, the sensory impact of the process, and a sense of divine involvement or assistance. It also reveals the almost total elision of the collaborative nature of glassworking in literary depictions.
In a final section, the chapter introduces the notion of ‘madeness’ as a means of relating the discourse of glassmaking to the impact of the made - Roman glass objects. For Roman owners, viewers and users, ideas about how such objects were created had a significant impact on their attitude towards them.
Originele taal-2English
TitelValuing Labor in Antiquity
RedacteurenMiko Flohr, Kimberly Bowes
UitgeverijBrill
Hoofdstuk7
Pagina's131-149
Aantal pagina's19
ISBN van elektronische versie978-90-04-69496-5
ISBN van geprinte versie978-90-04-69483-5
DOI's
StatusE-pub ahead of print - 21-feb.-2024

Publicatie series

NaamMnemosyne, Supplements
UitgeverijBrill
Volume481

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