Glass in the Roman World
April 18, 2004 7:00 AM   Subscribe

Vitrum: Glass Between Art and Science in the Roman World, an exhibition hosted by the Institute and Museum of the History of Science in Florence, describes the use of glass in different areas of Roman life: technology, daily life, architecture, and science. Each of the items in the themed galleries is linked to a large, high-resolution image; some beautiful examples of 2000-year-old glass include: a decorative glass hexagon, a blue glass cup from pompeii, and a striped mosaic glass cup.
posted by carter (5 comments total)
Incidentally, these ancient artifacts disprove the folk wisdom that glows "flows" or "sags" in old windows. If glass could visibly sag in a mere 150 years; then how could these 2000 year old specimens be anything other than puddles? The bottom line: glass does not "flow" in human timescales. As to whether or not glass could be properly called a "liquid", that is a question of nomenclature and various disciplines disagree on it. Materials Scientists, however, do not consider glass a "liquid".

These are wonderful, wonderful links and I beg forgiveness if in any way this comment derails the thread. Something about the post, though, made me think someone, somehow, somewhere, would comment on glass being a "liquid" and I thought I'd stop that nonsense in its tracks. If someone wants to argue about it, please just email me or something.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 7:10 AM on April 18, 2004

those are some amazing pieces, and the hi-res links are even more spectacular. funny how we get most of this stuff as the result of cities being destroyed yet preserved -- I think pompeii is one of the most interesting places on earth (but herculaneum I found very boring for some reason...)

(nb: sorta-self-linkage)
glass, glass, glass, glass, glass, glass, and lastly, glass!

no argument against the state of glass here (bottom of pane thicker == result of early mfgr technique); but the pitch-drop experiment is pretty neat.
posted by dorian at 7:55 AM on April 18, 2004

I love this one.

"Roman glassware provides some of the best available evidence that types of soda-lime glass are not fluid, even after nearly 2000 years."
posted by bingo at 7:58 AM on April 18, 2004

Carter: A pint of bitter
Carter: in a thin glass!

great links!

i would agree that most windows that are thick on the bottom are thick because of manufacturing, but ancient glassware has done little to the flowing glass argument. A thin heavily leaded glass pane on it's edge in the sun is what is rumored to flow visibly within 150 years.

bingo: that one is amazing, what do you think his expression is of?
posted by 12345 at 12:06 AM on April 19, 2004

Yeah, except it doesn't happen.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 3:24 AM on April 19, 2004

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