Ancient Glass Blog of The Allaire Collection

ROMAN GLASS SIMPULUM

Posted in Uncategorized by Allaire Collection of Glass on May 11, 2019

Roman glass simpulum From The Windmill Collection of Roman Glass

Date: 1st – early 2nd  Century A.D. ,  Adriatic Sea area Size: H =  7.4 → 10.0  cm, D = 5.7 c

Condition: completely intact

Classsification: Höricht 1995, form 17

Description: Translucent blue green free-blown glass. The wall of the body runs slightly bent from the folded edge to the applied foot, slightly welling up in the middle of the bottom. There is no pontil mark. The separately applied handle, fluttering wider on one side on the edge, initially runs straight up. From approx. 7 cm nodded twice and then with a bend culminating in a narrower end.

Remarks: Glass simpula or serving spoons are rare. The few glass ladles known from the literature all have an upright grip. The shape of the handle of this one is fairly unique, because the glass blower has, with a number of curves, ensured that this simpulum can also be hung up.  The glass serving spoon is derived from bronze and silver examples, probably mainly made in the Pompeii area. Like the bronze one in the House of Menander and the silver simpulum in the Casa di Lucius Habonius Primus, both with an inward-facing end of the handle for hanging. The dimensions of the glass serving spoons are generally considerably smaller than those of the bronze and silver ones.

Simpula were also depicted on the coins of Roman Emperors in the 1st and 2nd centuries AD. As one of the seven priest attributes of the Emperor in his function as Pontifex Maximus. Special is also a picture on a bronze coin of Empress Lucilla Augusta (163-189 AD) where on the other side is Vesta, Goddess of hearth, home and family, near an altar with a simpulum and a palladium in her hand. The Vestal Virgins lived together in a house near the Forum (Atrium Vestae), supervised by the Pontifex Maximus.

References: I Vetri Romani di Ercolane (Höricht); Magiche Transparenze, I vetri  dell’antica Albingaunum (Massabo); The Augustinus Collection of Ancient Glass (active link), Hans van Rossum (active link), Roman Glass of Slovenia (Lazar); Roman & Early Byzantine Glass,

Provenance: Private collection Lezoux (Lyon), S.E. France

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