Emel Erten

Keywords: Marmaris Museum, Elongated Glass, Unguentaria, Roman Empire


The three elongated glass unguentaria, which have been bought in recent years and added to the collection of the Marmaris Museum, are representative of a category of glass manufacturing present in both the eastern and western parts of the Roman Empire. Their main characteristics are: a height of 9.5 - 10 cm., having been manufactured of natural green glass with a free glass blowing technique, a border folded back and straightened, a cylindrical neck, a drop-shaped main body and a full, small droplet shaped bottom section. These containers were used to keep 'unguents', i.e. ointments, perfumes or salves. Apart from this daily use they were also used as burial chamber offerings. The fact that the Marmaris specimens are in good condition makes us think that they also were found in a tomb. Generally such elongated glass unguentaria were made in the first century A.D. or the beginning of the second century A.D. This was the period when glass blowing had acquired the characteristics of a full-fledged commercial activity, with entrepreneurs of this sector present throughout the territory of the Roman Empire. The fact that glass manufacturing in the first and second centuries A.D. was more sophisticated in the western parts of the Roman Empire is generally accepted. Very probably, the specimens at the Marmaris Museum are the simpler eastern version of types manufactured in the western part of the empire, which at times could be elaborately decorated.