Antiquities > Ancient Glass

Byzantine or Islamic?

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Robby R:
I often see bottles like these touted as Roman, and Yale university does show bottle fragments that are pretty much identical in composition and technique as dating prior to a near-Eastern city abandoned in the 200s C.E., but I believe these to actually date 500 years newer: at 6th to 9th century C.E., making them Byzantine or early Islamic.

If Yale were right, the above bottle would date to the first century B.C.E. to second century C.E., but I disagree with them. I would date this one to the 500s or newer.


While many pages call them blown, I feel like they were cast and then blown in some cases, as with this example:

The body is clearly three different pieces of glass, likely pouring one atop the other, and finishing it off on the (now broken) top.

Now, as much as I'd like to believe this is an exceptionally early blown Roman bottle, I just cannot think they are anything but Byzantine and Islamic.  The Romans seem to usually flare out the top of the bottle, or leave it very thin. While some of the Eastern bottles I've seen also do that, and the Byzantines as well, those with a drilled top seem to be primarily Islamic.

Now, I also have a final question. Ignore the enamel-like weathering on the teal-coloured body and see where the apple-green neck joins. It looks like a solder of some sort was brushed on. Is this a pewter or tin solder of some sort to help strengthen the weld where they poured a different glass batch into the mould? Or is it merely decorative?


Thank you for any assistance you can give.

Have a great day.

Joe Sermarini:
I believe they are Islamic. I confident they are not Roman.

Robby R:
Hello, and thank you.

Would you, then, agree with my approximated date-range of the 500s to 800s C.E.?

Have a great day.

Joe Sermarini:
I really don't know the end date for these types. I think some may still have been made for a few more centuries after that.

Robby R:
Thank you.

Do you know of a good resource on these standard Islamic bottles? Most resources I've found only deal with the top-notch examples, not a more general bottle.

Thank you, and have a great day.

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