ROMAN GLASS VICTORY BEAKER
ROMAN GLASS VICTORY BEAKER of Nico F. Bijnsdorp
Mid first century AD. Syro-Palestinian, possibly Sidon.
H =6.7 cm. D rim = 6.7 cm. D base = 6.0 cm. Weight 58 gr.
Small repair/restoration and crack at and below rim in area adjacent to letters (ΛΑΒ).
Blown into three-part mold with two vertical sections joined to a disk-shaped base section. Vertical mold-seams running from rim to base through palm leaves.
Transparent pale yellow, thin glass with greenish tinge.
Cylindrical body with unworked rim. Vertical sides with decoration and inscription in a single frieze with a horizontal rib above and below. The inscription ΛΑΒΕ ΤΗΝ ΝΙΚΗΝ
(= take the victory) divided in four equal parts (ΛΑΒ) (ΕΤΗ) (ΝΝΙ) (ΚΗΝ), each part encircled by a knotted oval wreath from which the knot-ribbons stretch to the bottom. In the bottom corners between the first and second and between the third and fourth wreaths are two concentric circles. Between the second and third and between the fourth and first wreaths two vertical palm leaves run, diametrically opposed, from top to bottom, hiding the mold-seams. Base flat with one broad, raised circle with central dot. No pontil mark.
This type of beaker was used by the Romans as a prize for athletic games or for drinking contests.
Donald B. Harden distinguishes in his article in Journal of Roman Studies (1935) three sub-types of cylindrical victory beakers, this one belonging to group K 1 i. Whereas in group K 1 iii many examples were found, in group K 1 i only two examples are known: one in the British Museum and one in the Cinzano Glass Collection, both from or near Melos.
Ex collection of Mr David and Mrs Jennyfer Giles, London, UK.
Lazarus 1974, Cinzano Glass Collection, No. 4.
Harden 1935, The British Museum, plate XXXVI d.