Perlucente Testa: Glass windows in Roman culture Event as iCalendar

(Classics and Ancient History, School of Humanities)

15 August 2017

4pm

Venue: Room 029, ClockTower (105-029)

Christopher Hayward | University of Cincinnati

The Roman glass industry shows us the Roman Empire at its most modern: a civilisation with high trade intensity, the capacity to adopt new technologies rapidly, a gradually narrowing gap between rich and poor, and materials that bear a striking similarity to modern soda-lime glass. Among the most distinctive Roman innovations in glass production is their window glass, the first in the world. Glass windowpanes are an architectural game-changer because of their useful combination of optical and thermal properties, and remain ubiquitous today. Their role in the evolution of Imperial bath complexes is already well recognised.

In my PhD research, I intend to focus on how, when and by whom window glass was adopted in other common Roman architectural forms, public and private, such as libraries, villas, and basilicas, examining it as both an architecturally useful material and a prestige good. I will also address the chemistry of Roman window glass in comparison to that of vessel glass, with the aim of relating differences in raw materials or production technology to the architectural and social functions of window glass.

 

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