Hellenistic Glass - Primary Production Centres

Primary Production Centres

Glassmaking and glassworking were considered two totally separate crafts and took place in different regions (Grose 1981). Each craft was characterized by its own technological tradition, know-how and equipment. Glassmakers and glassworkers did not need to have an understanding of glass vessel manufacture and primary production respectively, in order to carry out their tasks (Stern 1999).

Glassmaking had to take place as close as possible to the sources of the raw materials used, namely sand and mineral natron when it comes to the Hellenistic period (Shortland et al. 2006). Raw glass was traded throughout the Mediterranean in the form of ingots (Stern 1999) and it was then worked and shaped into vessels, inlays, jewellery, etc., in numerous sites of the Hellenistic world.

Hellenistic glass is the typical soda-lime-silica glass, to which lime was not intentionally added, but it was provided through the agent of sand (Turner 1956a). Although, it cannot be argued with certainty where the Hellenistic primary production of raw glass was geographically located from the archaeological record, we can hypothesize that a large part of glass production took place in the Syro-Palestinian coast or the broader Levantine region and Egypt . In favor of this argument are comments of classical writers of the period or a little later, like Strabo (63 BC) who mentioned the Belus river on the Syrian coast to have been used for glassmaking or even by writers other such as Pliny the Elder (23-79 AD) or Tacitus (c. 56-c. 117 AD) (Turner 1956b). However, archaeological evidence firmly indicate that primary production of glass, as well as glassworking took place on the island of Rhodes in the Aegean, during the Hellenistic period and, particularly, after the foundation of the city of Rhodes in 408 BC, and even earlier through the Classical period (Weinberg 1983; Triantafyllidis 1998; Rehren 2005).

Read more about this topic:  Hellenistic Glass

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