INDUSTRIES IN THE ROMAN EMPIRE

INDUSTRIES IN THE ROMAN EMPIRE


Olive press

The main industries were pottery making and brick making, glass makings, metallurgy, shipbuilding, black smithing, and fish processing. Factories produced oil lamps, bowls, cookware, and amphorae (pottery storage jars). Most of these items were made by hand in small factories. On the work done at a cloth-processing workshop, or fullery Cambridge's Mary Beard wrote, “Fulling is messy business, its main ingredient being human urine...The work was noisy and smelly."

Categories with related articles in this website: Early Ancient Roman History (34 articles) factsanddetails.com; Later Ancient Roman History (33 articles) factsanddetails.com; Ancient Roman Life (39 articles) factsanddetails.com; Ancient Greek and Roman Religion and Myths (35 articles) factsanddetails.com; Ancient Roman Art and Culture (33 articles) factsanddetails.com; Ancient Roman Government, Military, Infrastructure and Economics (42 articles) factsanddetails.com; Ancient Greek and Roman Philosophy and Science (33 articles) factsanddetails.com; Ancient Persian, Arabian, Phoenician and Near East Cultures (26 articles) factsanddetails.com

Websites on Ancient Rome: Internet Ancient History Sourcebook: Rome sourcebooks.fordham.edu ; Internet Ancient History Sourcebook: Late Antiquity sourcebooks.fordham.edu ; Forum Romanum forumromanum.org ; “Outlines of Roman History” forumromanum.org; “The Private Life of the Romans” forumromanum.org|; BBC Ancient Rome bbc.co.uk/history; Perseus Project - Tufts University; perseus.tufts.edu ; Lacus Curtius penelope.uchicago.edu; Gutenberg.org gutenberg.org The Roman Empire in the 1st Century pbs.org/empires/romans; The Internet Classics Archive classics.mit.edu ; Bryn Mawr Classical Review bmcr.brynmawr.edu; De Imperatoribus Romanis: An Online Encyclopedia of Roman Emperors roman-emperors.org; British Museum ancientgreece.co.uk; Oxford Classical Art Research Center: The Beazley Archive beazley.ox.ac.uk ; Metropolitan Museum of Art metmuseum.org/about-the-met/curatorial-departments/greek-and-roman-art; The Internet Classics Archive kchanson.com ; Cambridge Classics External Gateway to Humanities Resources web.archive.org/web; Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy iep.utm.edu; Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy plato.stanford.edu; Ancient Rome resources for students from the Courtenay Middle School Library web.archive.org ; History of ancient Rome OpenCourseWare from the University of Notre Dame /web.archive.org ; United Nations of Roma Victrix (UNRV) History unrv.com

Industrial Slaves in Ancient Rome

Harold Whetstone Johnston wrote in “The Private Life of the Romans”: “It must be remembered that in ancient times much work was done by hand that is now done by machinery. In work of this sort were employed armies of slaves fit only for unskilled labor: porters for the transportation of materials and merchandise, stevedores for the loading and discharging of vessels, men who handled the spade, pickax, and crowbar, men of great physical strength but of little else to make them worth their keep. Above these came artisans, mechanics, and skilled workmen of every kind: smiths, carpenters, bricklayers, masons, seamen, etc. The merchants and shopkeepers required assistants, and so did the millers and bakers, the dealers in wool and leather, the keepers of lodging-houses and restaurants, all who helped to supply the countless wants of a great city. [Source: “The Private Life of the Romans” by Harold Whetstone Johnston, Revised by Mary Johnston, Scott, Foresman and Company (1903, 1932) forumromanum.org |+|]

Even the professions, as we should call them, were largely in the hands of slaves. Books were multiplied by slaves. The artists who carved wood and stone, designed furniture, laid mosaics, painted pictures, and decorated the walls and ceilings of public and private buildings were slaves. So were the musicians and the acrobats, the actors and the gladiators who amused the people at the public games. So too, as we have seen, were some of the teachers in the schools; and physicians were usually slaves. |+|

“Slaves did not merely perform these various functions under the direction of their master or of the employer to whom he had hired them for the time. Many of them were themselves captains of industry. When a slave showed executive ability as well as technical knowledge, it was common enough for his master to furnish him with the capital necessary to carry on independently the business or profession which he understood. In this way slaves were often the managers of estates, of banks, of commercial enterprises, though these might take them far beyond the reach of their masters’ observation, even into foreign countries. Sometimes such a slave was expected to pay the master annually a fixed sum out of the proceeds of the business; sometimes he was allowed to keep for himself a certain share of the profits; sometimes he was merely required to repay the sum advanced, with interest from the time he had received it. In all cases, however, his industry and intelligence were stimulated by the hope of acquiring sufficient means from the venture to purchase his freedom and eventually make the business his own.” |+|

Clothes Production in Ancient Rome


Amcient Roman loom

Romans improved on Greek cloth making methods by replacing the warp-weighted loom with the more efficient two-armed loom. The Romans built textile factories and improved trade of cloth by building good roads. Wool garments required special attention to keep from shrinking or losing their shape. Public laundries were set up. They employed “fullers” who washed, whitened, redyed and pressed the garments. The fullers press consisted of two upright planks and a large screw top. Turned by a crank it flattened clothes between the planks. Urine was used as bleach.

Harold Whetstone Johnston wrote in “The Private Life of the Romans”: “In the old days the wool was spun at home by the women slaves, working under the eye of the mistress, and woven into cloth on the family loom. This custom was kept up throughout the Republic by some of the proudest families. Augustus wore such homemade garments. By the end of the Republic, however, this was no longer general, and, though much of the native wool was worked up on the farms by the slaves, directed by the vilica, cloth of any desired quality could be bought in the open market. [Source: “The Private Life of the Romans” by Harold Whetstone Johnston, Revised by Mary Johnston, Scott, Foresman and Company (1903, 1932) forumromanum.org |+|]

“It was formerly supposed that the garments came from the loom ready to wear, but this view is now known to be incorrect. We have seen that the tunic was made of two separate pieces sewed together, and that the toga had to be measured, cut, and sewed to fit the wearer, and that even the coarse paenula could not have been woven in one piece. But ready-made garments, though perhaps of the cheaper qualities only, were on sale in the towns as early as the time of Cato; under the Empire the trade reached large proportions. It is remarkable that, though there were many slaves in the familia urbana, it never became usual to have soiled garments cleansed at home. All garments showing traces of use were sent by the well-to-do to the fullers (fullones) to be washed, whitened (or redyed), and pressed. The fact that almost all were of woolen materials made skill and care the more necessary. |+|

“The Roman armies sometimes adopted the bracae when they were campaigning in the northern provinces. Tacitus tells a story of the offense given by Caecina on his return from his campaign in Gaul because he continued to wear the bracae while be was addressing the toga-clad citizens of the Italian towns through which he passed. (Hist. 2.20).” |+|

Preparation and Milling of Grain


milling grain

Harold Whetstone Johnston wrote in “The Private Life of the Romans”: “In the earliest times the grain (far) had not been ground, but had been merely pounded in a mortar. The meal was then mixed with water and made into a sort of porridge (puls, whence our word “poultice”), which long remained the national dish something like the oatmeal of Scotland. Plautus (died 184 B.C.) jestingly refers to his countrymen as “pulse-eaters.” The persons who crushed the grain were called pinsitores, or pistores, whence the cognomen Piso, as was said above, was derived; in later times the bakers were also called pistores, because they ground the grain as well as baked the bread. In the ruins of bakeries we find mills as regularly as ovens. [Source: “The Private Life of the Romans” by Harold Whetstone Johnston, Revised by Mary Johnston, Scott, Foresman and Company (1903, 1932) forumromanum.org ]

“In such mills the grain was ground into regular flour. The mill (mola) consisted of three parts, the lower millstone (meta), the upper stone (catillus), and the framework that surrounded and supported the latter and furnished the means to turn it upon the meta. The meta was, as the name suggests, a cone shaped stone (A) resting on a bed of masonry (B) with a raised rim, between which and the lower edge of the meta the flour was collected. In the upper part of the meta a beam (C) was mortised, ending above in an iron pin or pivot (D), on which hung and turned the framework that supported the catillus. The catillus (E) itself was shaped something like an hourglass, or two funnels joined at their necks. The upper funnel served as a hopper into which the grain was poured; the lower funnel fitted closely over the meta. From a relief in the Vatican Museum, Rome.The distance between the lower funnel and the meta was regulated by the length of the pin, mentioned above, according to the fineness of the flour desired. |+|

“The framework was very strong and massive on account of the heavy weight that was suspended from it. The beams used for turning the mill were fitted into holes in the narrow part of the catillus. The power required to do the grinding was furnished by horses or mules pulling the beams, or by slaves pushing against them. This last method was often used as a punishment, as we have seen. Of the same form but much smaller were the hand mills used by soldiers for grinding the frumentum furnished them as rations. Under the Empire, water mils were introduced, but they are rarely mentioned in literature.” |+|

Manufacture of Papyrus and Rolls in Ancient Rome


men splitting papyrus in ancient Egypt

Harold Whetstone Johnston wrote in “The Private Life of the Romans”: “The papyrus reed had a triangular stem which reached a maximum height of perhaps fourteen feet with a thickness of four or five inches. The stem contained a pith of which the paper made by a process substantially as follows. The stem was cut crosswise, and the rind removed. The pith was cut into thin lengthwise strips as evenly as possible. The first seems to have been made from one of the angles to the middle of the opposite side, and the others parallel with it to the right and to the left. The strips were then assorted according to width, and enough of them were arranged side by side as closely as possible upon a board to make their combined width almost equal to the length of the single strip. Across these was laid another layer at right angles, with perhaps a coating of glue or paste between them. The mat-like sheet that resulted was then soaked in water and pressed or hammered into a substance not unlike our paper, called by the Romans, charta. [Source: “The Private Life of the Romans” by Harold Whetstone Johnston, Revised by Mary Johnston, Scott, Foresman and Company (1903, 1932) forumromanum.org |+|]

“After the sheets (schedae) had been dried and bleached in the sun, they were freed of rough places by scraping and trimmed into uniform sizes, depending upon the length of the strips of pith. The fewer the strips that composed each sheet, or in other words the greater the width of each strip, the closer the texture of the charta and the better its quality. It was possible, therefore, to grade the paper by its size, and the width of the sheet rather than its height was taken as the standard. The best quality was sold in sheets about ten inches wide; the poorest that could be used to write upon came in sheets about six inches wide. The height in each case was perhaps one inch to two inches greater. It has been calculated that a single papyrus plant would make about twenty sheets, and this number seems to have been made the commercial unit of measure (scapus) by which the paper was sold, a unit corresponding roughly to our quire. |+|

“Making the Roll. A single sheet might serve for a letter or other brief document, but for literary purposes many sheets might be required. These were not fastened side by side in a back, as are the separate sheets in our books, or numbered and laid loosely together, as we arrange sheets in our letters and manuscripts, but, after the writing was done, they were glued together at the sides (not at the tops) into a long, unwieldy strip, with the lines on each sheet running parallel with the length of the strip, and with the writing on each sheet forming a column perpendicular the length of the strip. On each side of the sheet therefore, a margin was left as the writing was one, and these margins, overlapping and glued together, made a thick blank space, a double thickness of paper, between every two sheets in the strip. Very broad margins, too, were left at the top and bottom, where the paper would suffer from use a great deal more than in our books. When the sheets had been securely fastened together in the proper order, a thin slip of wood might be glued to the left (outer) margin of the first sheet, and a second slip (umbilicus) to the right (also outer) margin of the last sheet, much as a wall map is mounted today. When not in use, the volume was kept tightly rolled about the umbilicus. Some authorities think that the umbilici were not always attached to the rolls, but that they might be slipped in when the books were in use.2


Roman paprus scroll

“A roll intended for permanent preservation was always finished with greatest care. The top and bottom (frontes) were trimmed perfectly smooth, polished with pumice-stone, and often painted black. The back of the roll was rubbed with cedar oil to defend it from moths and mice. To the ends of the umbilicus were added knobs (cornua), sometimes gilded or painted a bright color. The first sheet would be used for the dedication, if there was one, and on the back of it were frequently written a few words giving a clue to the contents of the roll; sometimes a pen-and-ink portrait of the author graced this page. In many books the full title and the name of the author were written only at the end of the roll on the last sheet, but in any case to the top this sheet was glued a strip of parchment (titulus) with the title and author’s name upon it; the strip projected above the edge of the roll. For every roll a parchment cover was made, cylindrical in form, into which it was slipped from the top; the titulus alone was visible. If a work was divided into several volumes, the rolls were put together in a bundle (fascis) an kept in a wooden box (capsa, scrinium) like a modern hat box. When the cover was removed, the tituli were visible, and the roll desired could be taken without disturbing the others. The rolls were kept sometimes in cupboards (armaria), where they were laid lengthwise on the shelves with the tituli to the front, as shown in the figure in the next paragraph. |+|

“Size of the Rolls. When a volume was consulted, the roll was held in both hands and unrolled column by column with the right hand, while with the left the reader rolled up the part he had read on the slip of wood fastened to the margin of the first sheet, or around the umbilicus. When he had finished reading, he rolled the volume back upon the umbilicus, usually holding it under his chin and turning the cornua with both hands. In the case of a long roll this turning backward and forward took much time and patience and must have sadly soiled and damaged the roll itself. The early rolls were always long and heavy. There was theoretically no limit to the number of sheets that might be glued together, and consequently none to the size or length of the roll. It was made as long as was necessary to contain the given work. In ancient Egypt rolls were put together of more than fifty yards in length, and in early times rolls of corresponding length were used in Greece and Rome. From the third century B.C., however, it had become customary to divide works of great length into two or more volumes. The division at first was purely arbitrary and made wherever it was convenient to end the roll, no matter how much the unity of thought was interrupted. A century later authors had begun to divide their works into convenient parts, each part having a unity of its own, such as the five “books” of Cicero’s De Finibus, and to each of these parts, or “books,” a separate roll was allotted. An innovation so convenient and sensible quickly became the universal rule. It even worked backward; some ancient works, which had not been divided by their authors, e.g., Herodotus, Thucydides, and Naevius, were now divided into books. About the same time, too, it became the custom to put upon the market the sheets already glued together, to the amount at least of the scapus. It was, of course; much easier to glue two or three of these together, or to cut off the unused part of one, than to work with the separate sheets. The ready-made rolls, moreover, were put together in a most workmanlike manner. Even sheets of the same quality would vary slightly in toughness or finish, and the manufacturers of the roll were careful to put the very best sheets at the beginning, where the wear was the most severe, and to keep for the end the less perfect sheets, which might sometimes be cut off altogether.” |+|

Publications of Books in Ancient Rome


Harold Whetstone Johnston wrote in “The Private Life of the Romans”: “Multiplication of Books. The process of publishing the largest book at Rome differed in no important respect from that of writing the shortest letter. Every copy was made by itself, the hundredth or the thousandth taking just as much time and labor as the first had done. The author’s copy would be distributed for reproduction among a number of librarii, his own, if he were a man of wealth, a Caesar or a Sallust; his patron’s, if he were a poor man, a Terence or a Vergil. Each of the librarii would write and rewrite the portions assigned to him, until the required number of copies had been made. The sheets were then arranged in the proper order, if the ready-made rolls were not used, and the rolls were mounted as has been described. Finally the books had to be looked through to correct the errors that were sure to be made, a process much more tedious than the modern proofreading, because every copy had to be corrected separately, as no two copies would show precisely the same errors. Books made in this way were almost exclusively for gifts, though friends would exchange books with friends and a few might find their way into the market. Up to the last century of the Republic there was no organized book trade, and no such thing as commercial publication. When a man wanted a book, instead of buying it at a bookstore he borrowed a copy from a friend and had his librarii make him as many more as he desired. In this way Atticus made for himself and Cicero copies of all the Greek and Latin books on which he could lay his hands, and distributed Cicero’s own writings everywhere. [Source: “The Private Life of the Romans” by Harold Whetstone Johnston, Revised by Mary Johnston, Scott, Foresman and Company (1903, 1932) forumromanum.org |+|]

“Commercial Publication. The publication of books at Rome as a business began in the time of Cicero. There was no copyright law and no protection therefore for author or publisher. The author’s pecuniary returns came in the form of gifts or grants from those whose favor he had won by his genius; the publisher depended, in the case of new books, upon meeting the demand before his rivals could market their editions, and, in the case of standard books, upon the accuracy, elegance, and cheapness of his copies. The process of commercial publication was essentially the same as the method already described, except that larger numbers of librarii would be employed. The publisher would estimate as closely as possible the demand for any new work that he had secured, would put as large a number of scribes upon it as possible, and would take care that no copies should leave his establishment until his whole edition was ready. After the copies were once on sale, they could be reproduced by anyone. The best houses took all possible pains to have their books free from errors; they had competent correctors to read them copy by copy, but in spite of their efforts blunders were legion. Authors sometimes corrected with their own hands the copies intended for their friends. In the case of standard works purchasers often hired scholars of reputation to revise their copies for them, and copies of known excellence were borrowed or hired at high prices for the purpose of comparison. |+|

“Rapidity and Cost of Publication. Cicero tells us of Roman senators who wrote fast enough to take evidence verbatim, and the trained scribes must have far surpassed them in speed. Martial tells us that his second book could be copied in an hour. It contains five hundred and forty verses, which would make the scribe equal to nine verses to the minute. It is evident that a small edition, consisting of copies not more than twice or three times as numerous as the scribes, could be put upon the market more quickly than it could be produced now. The cost of the books varied, of course, with their size and the style of their mounting. Martial’s first book, containing eight hundred twenty lines and covering thirty-nine pages in Teubner’s text, sold at thirty cents, fifty cents, and one dollar; his Xenia, containing two hundred and seventy-four verses and covering fourteen pages in Teubner’s text, sold at twenty cents, but cost the publisher less than ten. Such prices would hardly be considered excessive now. Much would depend upon the reputation of the author and the consequent demand. High prices were put on certain books. Autograph copies—Gellius (late in the second century, A.D.) says that one by Vergil cost the owner one hundred dollars—and copies whose correctness was vouched for by some recognized authority commanded extraordinary prices.” |+|

Glass Making


glass maker

Modern glass blowing began in 50 B.C. with the Romans, but origins of glass making go back even further. Pliny the Elder attributed the discovery to Phoenician sailors who placed a sandy pot on some lumps of alkali embalming powder from their ship. This provided the three ingredients needed for glass making: heat, sand and lime. Although it is interesting story, it is far from true.

The oldest glass so far discovered is from site in Mesopotamia, dated to 3000 B.C., and glass in all likelihood was made before that. The ancient Egyptians produced fine pieces of glass. The eastern Mediterranean produced especially beautiful glass because the materials were of fine quality.

Around the 6th century B.C. the “core glass method” of glass making from Mesopotamia and Egypt was revived under the influence of Greek ceramics makers in Phoenicia in the eastern Mediterranean and then was widely traded by Phoenician merchants. During the Hellenistic period, high quality pieces were created using a variety of techniques, including the cast glass and mosaic glass.

According to the Metropolitan Museum of Art: “Core-formed and cast glass vessels were first produced in Egypt and Mesopotamia as early as the fifteenth century B.C., but only began to be imported and, to a lesser extent, made on the Italian peninsula in the mid-first millennium B.C. Glassblowing developed in the Syro-Palestinian region in the early first century B.C. and is thought to have come to Rome with craftsmen and slaves after the area's annexation to the Roman world in 64 B.C. [Source: Rosemarie Trentinella, Department of Greek and Roman Art, Metropolitan Museum of Art, October 2003, metmuseum.org \^/]

Roman Glass Making

The Romans made drinking cups, vases, bowls, storage jars, decorative items and other object in a variety of shapes and colors. using blown glass. The Roman, wrote Seneca, read "all the books in Rome" by peering at them through a glass globe. The Romans made sheet glass but never perfected the process partly because windows weren't considered necessary in the relatively warm Mediterranean climate.

The Romans made a number of advancements, the most notable of which was mold-blown glass, a technique still used today. Developed in the eastern Mediterranean in the 1st century B.C., this new technique allowed glass to be made transparent and in a wide variety of shapes and sizes. It also allowed glass to be mass produced, making glass something that ordinary people could afford as well as the rich. The use of mold-blown glass spread throughout the Roman empire and was influenced by different cultures and arts.

20120228-Pompeii_und_Glasfragmente.jpg
Pompeii glass items
With the core-form mold-blown technique, globs of glass are heated in a furnace until they become glowing orange orbs. Glass threads are wound around a core with a handling piece of metal. Craftsmen then roll, blow and spin the glass to get the shapes they want.

With the casting technique, a mold is formed with a model. The mold is filled with crushed or powdered glass and heated. After cooling down, the plank is removed from the mold, and the interior cavity is drilled and exterior is well cut. With the mosaic glass technique, rods of glass are fused, drawn and cut into canes. These canes are arranged in a mold and heated to make a vessel.

According to the Metropolitan Museum of Art: “At the height of its popularity and usefulness in Rome, glass was present in nearly every aspect of daily life—from a lady's morning toilette to a merchant's afternoon business dealings to the evening cena, or dinner. Glass alabastra, unguentaria, and other small bottles and boxes held the various oils, perfumes, and cosmetics used by nearly every member of Roman society. Pyxides often contained jewelry with glass elements such as beads, cameos, and intaglios, made to imitate semi-precious stone like carnelian, emerald, rock crystal, sapphire, garnet, sardonyx, and amethyst. Merchants and traders routinely packed, shipped, and sold all manner of foodstuffs and other goods across the Mediterranean in glass bottles and jars of all shapes and sizes, supplying Rome with a great variety of exotic materials from far-off parts of the empire. [Source: Rosemarie Trentinella, Department of Greek and Roman Art, Metropolitan Museum of Art, October 2003, metmuseum.org \^/]

“Other applications of glass included multicolored tesserae used in elaborate floor and wall mosaics, and mirrors containing colorless glass with wax, plaster, or metal backing that provided a reflective surface. Glass windowpanes were first made in the early imperial period, and used most prominently in the public baths to prevent drafts. Because window glass in Rome was intended to provide insulation and security, rather than illumination or as a way of viewing the world outside, little, if any, attention was paid to making it perfectly transparent or of even thickness. Window glass could be either cast or blown. Cast panes were poured and rolled over flat, usually wooden molds laden with a layer of sand, and then ground or polished on one side. Blown panes were created by cutting and flattening a long cylinder of blown glass.”

Development of Roman Glass

According to the Metropolitan Museum of Art: “ By the time of the Roman Republic (509–27 B.C.), such vessels, used as tableware or as containers for expensive oils, perfumes, and medicines, were common in Etruria (modern Tuscany) and Magna Graecia (areas of southern Italy including modern Campania, Apulia, Calabria, and Sicily). However, there is very little evidence for similar glass objects in central Italian and Roman contexts until the mid-first century B.C. The reasons for this are unclear, but it suggests that the Roman glass industry sprang from almost nothing and developed to full maturity over a couple of generations during the first half of the first century A.D. [Source: Rosemarie Trentinella, Department of Greek and Roman Art, Metropolitan Museum of Art, October 2003, metmuseum.org \^/]


Roman glass amphorae

“Doubtless Rome's emergence as the dominant political, military, and economic power in the Mediterranean world was a major factor in attracting skilled craftsmen to set up workshops in the city, but equally important was the fact that the establishment of the Roman industry roughly coincided with the invention of glassblowing. This invention revolutionized ancient glass production, putting it on a par with the other major industries, such as that of pottery and metalwares. Likewise, glassblowing allowed craftsmen to make a much greater variety of shapes than before. Combined with the inherent attractiveness of glass—it is nonporous, translucent (if not transparent), and odorless—this adaptability encouraged people to change their tastes and habits, so that, for example, glass drinking cups rapidly supplanted pottery equivalents. In fact, the production of certain types of native Italian clay cups, bowls, and beakers declined through the Augustan period, and by the mid-first century A.D. had ceased altogether. \^/

“However, although blown glass came to dominate Roman glass production, it did not altogether supplant cast glass. Especially in the first half of the first century A.D., much Roman glass was made by casting, and the forms and decoration of early Roman cast vessels demonstrate a strong Hellenistic influence. The Roman glass industry owed a great deal to eastern Mediterranean glassmakers, who first developed the skills and techniques that made glass so popular that it can be found on every archaeological site, not only throughout the Roman empire but also in lands far beyond its frontiers. \^/

Cast Glass Versus Blown Glass in Ancient Rome

According to the Metropolitan Museum of Art: “Although the core-formed industry dominated glass manufacture in the Greek world, casting techniques also played an important role in the development of glass in the ninth to fourth centuries B.C. Cast glass was produced in two basic ways—through the lost-wax method and with various open and plunger molds. The most common method used by Roman glassmakers for most of the open-form cups and bowls in the first century B.C. was the Hellenistic technique of sagging glass over a convex "former" mold. However, various casting and cutting methods were continuously utilized as style and popular preference demanded. The Romans also adopted and adapted various color and design schemes from the Hellenistic glass traditions, applying such designs as network glass and gold-band glass to novel shapes and forms. [Source: Rosemarie Trentinella, Department of Greek and Roman Art, Metropolitan Museum of Art, October 2003, metmuseum.org \^/]


Roman glass cosmetics container

“Distinctly Roman innovations in fabric styles and colors include marbled mosaic glass, short-strip mosaic glass, and the crisp, lathe-cut profiles of a new breed of fine as monochrome and colorless tablewares of the early empire, introduced around 20 A.D. This class of glassware became one of the most prized styles because it closely resembled luxury items such as the highly valued rock crystal objects, Augustan Arretine ceramics, and bronze and silver tablewares so favored by the aristocratic and prosperous classes of Roman society. In fact, these fine wares were the only glass objects continually formed via casting, even up to the as Late Flavian, Trajanic, and Hadrianic periods (96–138 A.D.), after glassblowing superceded casting as the dominant method of glassware manufacture in the early first century A.D. \^/

“Glassblowing developed in the Syro-Palestinian region in the early first century B.C. and is thought to have come to Rome with craftsmen and slaves after the area's annexation to the Roman world in 64 B.C. The new technology revolutionized the Italian glass industry, stimulating an enormous increase in the range of shapes and designs that glassworkers could produce. A glassworker's creativity was no longer bound by the technical restrictions of the laborious casting process, as blowing allowed for previously unparalleled versatility and speed of manufacture. These advantages spurred a rapid evolution of style and form, and experimentation with the new technique led craftsmen to create novel and unique shapes; examples exist of flasks and bottles shaped like foot sandals, wine barrels, fruits, and even helmets and animals. Some combined blowing with glass-casting and pottery-molding technologies to create the so-called mold-blowing process. Further innovations and stylistic changes saw the continued use of casting and free-blowing to create a variety of open and closed forms that could then be engraved or facet-cut in any number of patterns and designs.” \^/

Notitia Dignitatum (Register of Dignitaries), A.D. 400

The Notitia Dignitatum (Register of Dignitaries, c. A.D. 400) is an official listing of all civil and military posts in the Roman Empire, East and West. It survives as a 1551 copy of the now-missing original and is the major source of information on the administrative organization of the late Roman Empire. William Fairley wrote: “The Notitia Dignitatum is an official register of all the offices, other than municipal, which existed in the Roman Empire.... Gibbon gave to this document a date between 395 and 407 when the Vandals disturbed the Roman regime in Gaul. [Source: William Fairley, Notitia Dignitatum or Register of Dignitaries, in Translations and Reprints from Original Sources of European History, Vol. VI:4 (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press), 1899].

“The Notitia Dignitatum has preserved for us, as no other document has done, a complete outline view of the Roman administrative system in early fifth century. The hierarchic arrangement is displayed perfectly. The division of prefectures, dioceses and provinces, and the rank of their respective governors is set forth at length. The military origin of the whole system appears in the titles of the staff officers, even in those departments whose heads had, since the time of Constantine, been deprived of all military command.”

Counts of Sacred Bounties and Private Domain in the East


tools

Count of the Sacred Bounties.
Under the control of the illustrious count of the sacred bounties:
The counts of the bounties in all the dioceses,
The counts of the markets:
in the East and Egypt,
in Moesia, Scythia and Pontus,
in Illyricum.
The provosts of the store-houses,
The counts of the metals in Illyricum,
The count and the accountant of the general tribute of Egypt,
The accountants of the general tribute,
The masters of the linen vesture,
The masters of the private vesture,
The procurators of the weaving-houses,
The procurators of the dye-houses,
The procurators of the mints,
The provosts of the goods despatch,
The procuratorof the linen-weavers.
[Source: Notitia Dignitatum (Register of Dignitaries), William Fairley, in Translations and Reprints from Original Sources of European History, Vol. VI:4 (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press), 1899].

The staff of the aforesaid count of the sacred bounties includes:
The chief clerk of the whole staff,
The chief clerk of the bureau of fixed taxes,
The chief clerk of the bureau of records,
The chief clerk of the bureau of accounts,
The chief clerk of the bureau of gold bullion,
The chief clerk of the bureau of gold for shipment,
The chief clerk of the bureau of the sacred wardrobe,
The chief clerk of the bureau of silver,
The chief clerk of the bureau of miliarensia,
The chief clerk of the bureau of coinage and other clerks of the above-mentioned bureaus,
A deputy chief clerk of the staff, who is chief clerk of the secretaries,
A sub-deputy chief clerk, who deals with the goods de spatch,
A fourth clerk who deals with requests, and other palatine [officials] of the aforesaid staff.
The count of the bounties is entitled to as many post warrants in the year as his occasions may require.

Count of the Sacred Bounties in the West


scales and weights

Procurators of the weaving-houses:
The procurator of the weaving-house at Bassiana, in Pannonia secunda -removed from Salona,
The procurator of the weaving-house at Sirmium. in Pannonia secunda,
The procurator of the Jovian weaving-house at Spalato in Dalmatia,
The procurator of the weaving-house at Aquileia in Venetia inferior,
The procurator of the weaving-house at Milan in Liguria,
The procurator of the weaving-house in the city of Rome,
The procurator of the weaving-house at Canosa and Venosa in Apulia,
The procurator of the weaving-house at Carthage in Africa,
The procurator of the weaving-house at Arles in the province of Vienne,
The procurator of the weaving-house at Lyons,
The procurator of the weaving-house at Rheims in Belgica secunda,
The procurator of the weaving-house at Tourney Belgica Secunda,
The procurator of the weaving-house at Trier in Belgica secunda,
The procurator of the weaving-house at Autun- removed from Metz,
The procurator of the weaving-house at Winchester Britain.
Procurators of the linen-weaving houses:
The procurator of the linen-weaving house at Vienne in the Gauls,
The procurator of the linen-weaving house at Ravenna in Italy.

Procurators of the dye-houses:
The procurator of the dye-house at Tarentum in Calabria,
The procurator of the dye-house at Salona in Dalmatia
The procurator of the dye-house at Cissa in Venetia and Istria,
The procurator of the dye-house at Syracuse in Sicily,
The procurator of the dye-houses in Africa,
The procurator of the dyeihouse at Girba, in the Province of Tripolis,
The procurator of the dye-house in the Balearic Isles in Spain,
The procurator of the dye-house at Toulon in the Gauls.
The procurator of the dye-house at Narbonne.

Procurators of the embroiderers in gold and silver:
The procurator of the embroiderers in gold and silver at Arles,
The procurator of the embroiderers in gold silver and at Rheims,
The procurator of the embroiderers in gold and silver at Trier,

Image Sources: Wikimedia Commons

Text Sources: Internet Ancient History Sourcebook: Rome sourcebooks.fordham.edu ; Internet Ancient History Sourcebook: Late Antiquity sourcebooks.fordham.edu ; Forum Romanum forumromanum.org ; “Outlines of Roman History” by William C. Morey, Ph.D., D.C.L. New York, American Book Company (1901), forumromanum.org \~\; “The Private Life of the Romans” by Harold Whetstone Johnston, Revised by Mary Johnston, Scott, Foresman and Company (1903, 1932) forumromanum.org |+|; BBC Ancient Rome bbc.co.uk/history/ ; Perseus Project - Tufts University; perseus.tufts.edu ; MIT, Online Library of Liberty, oll.libertyfund.org ; Gutenberg.org gutenberg.org Metropolitan Museum of Art, National Geographic, Smithsonian magazine, New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, Live Science, Discover magazine, Times of London, Natural History magazine, Archaeology magazine, The New Yorker, Encyclopædia Britannica, "The Discoverers" [∞] and "The Creators" [μ]" by Daniel Boorstin. "Greek and Roman Life" by Ian Jenkins from the British Museum.Time, Newsweek, Wikipedia, Reuters, Associated Press, The Guardian, AFP, Lonely Planet Guides, World Religions edited by Geoffrey Parrinder (Facts on File Publications, New York); History of Warfare by John Keegan (Vintage Books); History of Art by H.W. Janson Prentice Hall, Englewood Cliffs, N.J.), Compton’s Encyclopedia and various books and other publications.

Last updated October 2018

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