Ancient Glass Blog of The Allaire Collection


Posted in Uncategorized by Allaire Collection of Glass on May 13, 2020

Square Roman Bottle


 Henk-Martin Goldschmidt collection

Date: 1st century AD  Dimensions: Height: 10.4 cm, 5.4 cm x 5.4 cm, Weight: 89 g


Bottle or jug of translucent sea-green glass. Square body with horizontal shoulder, rounded to the four straight walls. Cylindrical neck. Flaring mouth with inwardly folded rim. Solid and very wide strap handle with fine ribs applied on the edge of shoulder, folded with sharp angle toward neck and folded again below attachment to middle of neck. Because of the sharpness of the celery handle this is classified as an early bottle: 1st century. Flat base, slightly indented, with base-mark of four leaves arranged crosswise.

This is an example of a common type of storage bottle within the Roman empire. The square shape facilitates easy transportation while the capacity fits the measuring roman system (see further). The decorations on the bottom are marks referring to the maker and / or location of production.


Excellent, no damage, spectacular iridescence.


Body mould-blown, neck and mouth free-blown. Eleven-ribbed handle applied, so-called celery handle. Pontil mark. Isings 1957, form 50a; Handle Fleming 1999, p. 63: type 86-35-27


The capacity is 175 ml which represents 1/3 sentarius, because 1 sentarius stands for 546 ml and 48 sentarii equalizes one amphora.


Possibly northwest part of Roman Empire, probably Rhineland. Characteristic of mould-blown pieces are the sharp edges and the base mark. A comparable bottle with the same base mark of four leaves was discovered in a tomb in Switzerland, found in Döttingen in a tomb between Klingnau and Döttingen, now in the Musée National Suisse (inv. A-4371, Foy 2001, no. CH 26a). So found not so far from the Rhineland (Germania Superior).

France, Poitiers, départment Vienne, Nécropole des Dunes

In the trilogy of the AFAV (Association Francaise pour l’Archeologie du Verre) in volume 2 very similar bottles are described and shown on pages 273 to 282, all from Croatia. The description in the reference states under floral motifs on bottles from Croatia: CRO-SP 7 (pl. 2) Asseria, Podfrade at Benkovac. Square bottle with single small handle made of transparent glass with greenish blue (same glass description as given in the Dos Winkel catalogue). Geometric decoration: four radial petals on slightly concave bottom.

This color of translucent sea-green glass is typical for production in e.g. the Rhineland region. But, especially, these square bottles were designed to be transported in an efficient way. So it makes sense to find them at various sites within the Roman empire.

So the description in the Winkel catalogue says ‘probably Rhineland (based upon the color)’, however bottom marks point towards Switzerland (based upon the burial findings), France (based upon the shape of the cam) as well as Croatia (based upon the bottom marks) as possible production sites.

The form use to blow the glass into are much more indicative for the production place. In the museum in Bonn such a form construction is shown. This setup illustrates in a nice way how these bottles were manufactured. So one should clearly distinguish between finding site, i.e. place of use and production site.

Croatia,  Asseria, Podgrade at Benkovac


Gallery Drees Archeo (Nelly Drees), Brussels, about mid 1980’s, thereafter collection Dos and Bertie Winkel and acquired in June 2017 from Laméris, Amsterdam


– With a divine touch: The Dos and Bertie Winkel Collection, Frides Laméris Glass and Antiques, Amsterdam, 2017, number DOS 49, pages 66 and 67

– Newark Museum (Auth 1976, no. 132)

– Coeur de verre, Production et diffusion du verre antique (Foy 2003, p. 98)

– Roman glass found in and around Cologne (Fremersdorf 1958,no. N356 Tafel 118)

– Römische Glaskunst und Wandmalerei (Klein 1999, no. 3, p. 51. Mainz-Kastel, Inv. No. 1930/201)

– Corpus des Signatures et Marques sur verres antiques, volumes 1, 2 and 3, Daniel Foy, Marie-Dominique Nenna, Aix-en-Provence, Lyon, AFAV, 2006, 2006 en 2011, pale 16 in volume 1, and page 185 and page 192 in volume 3

– Die römischen Gläser im Rheinischen Landesmuseum Bonn, Anna-Barbara Follmann-Schulz, Rheinland-Verlag, Köln, 1992

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