Date of this Version
UNIVERSITY OF NEBRASKA STUDIES, Volume 41 * Number 2 * August 1941 STUDIES IN THE HUMANITIES NO.1
THE Roman conquerors who settled down to colonize a new province always tried to surround themselves with a new life reminiscent of the life they had left behind in Rome. When the Roman Empire began to expand northward beyond the Alps, first in Gaul and then later in Western Germany, among the many articles brought over by the Romans for their daily use and unknown until then in the new countries were objects made of glass which were part of the common paraphernalia of life in Italy. First, glassware was imported from Italy and those provinces where its production had reached considerable proportions towards the end of the last century B.C. (Egypt, Syria). The regular delivery of goods from Italy was complicated by the difficulties caused by the great distances; the only means of circumventing this handicap was to set up local industries in the new provinces. We are in a position to follow this process minutely for one product of Roman art industry the demand for which grew rapidly throughout the Empire, the sigillata pottery. Its production in the new Northern provinces began in Southern France. With increased demand for these wares in the remote parts of the province, branch factories sprang up in Central, Northern, and Eastern Gaul, and still later, beyond its frontier-along the Rhine (1).* A similar development of production occurred in the field of glass. This product being more fragile, its importation from Italy and the above-mentioned provinces represented a great commercial risk (2). By the middle of the first century of our era the first workshops manufacturing glassware had made their appearance in Gaul (3). We have good reason to believe that they were located in the main center of the province at Lugudunum, the modern Lyons (4) From here these workshops began to branch out along the valley of the Rhone. But the most important centers of the new glass industry sprang up on the Rhine and some of its tributaries (5).