All About Glass

You are here

A Mold-Blown Bottle from the Workshop of Titianus Hyacinthus

All About Glass

This note describes and illustrates a mold-blown square bottle with an inscription on the base.1


Fig. 1: Mold-blown square bottle from the collection of William F. Albus. H. 18.9 cm.The bottle (Fig. 1) is 18.9 centimeters high and is made of transparent bluish green glass. The body was blown in a mold with four vertical sections and a separate baseplate. The object is somewhat lopsided. It has a roughly horizontal rim made by folding out and up and in, a cylindrical neck, and a sloping shoulder. The body has straight, vertical sides. The base is slightly concave, and it bears an inscription in low relief. An angular strap handle was applied to the edge of the shoulder and attached to the neck near the midpoint. The lower part of the handle has 10 vertical ribs.

The inscription fills the underside of the base, which is 7.7 centimeters across. It has, at the center, a wreath, and an inscription in three lines: one above the wreath, the second on either side of the wreath, and the third below it. The text, in capitals with rudimentary serifs, is:

EX [wreath] OF

The bottle is cracked, and it has been repaired on at least two occasions. The surface is dull and has a considerable amount of reddish brown accretion; the interior contains a large quantity of earth or earth-covered material.


The bottle is of a well-known type (Isings form 50b), examples of which have been found in most parts of the Roman Empire, but especially in the western provinces. Datable examples range between the second quarter of the first century A.D. and the late second or early third century.2

The third line of the inscription may be restored with confidence as "HYACINTHI," or some variant thereof, on the basis of the mark on a square bottle from Rome.3 The inscription on the latter is recorded as follows:


The letters in the last line are incomplete, and so the reading is uncertain. Nevertheless, it is clear that the two bottles have different renderings of the same inscription, which may be expanded thus: "ex officina Titiani Hyacinthi" (from the workshop of Titianus Hyacinthus).

This article was published in the Journal of Glass Studies, Vol. 45 (2003), 179–180.

1. The bottle is in the collection of William F. Albus, who graciously allowed me to publish this note.

2. The evidence for the distribution and date of Isings form 50b is summarized by Simonetta Biaggio Simona, I vetri romani provenienti dalle terre dell’attuale Cantone Ticino, Locarno: Armando Dadò Editore, 1991, vol. 1, pp. 180-181 and 185; by Geneviève Sennequier, Verrerie d’époque romaine retrouvée en Haute-Normandie, Ph.D. diss., Tours: Université François Rabelais, 1993, v. 2, pt. 2, pp. 262-273; by H.E.M. Cool and Jennifer Price, Roman Vessel Glass from Excavations in Colchester, 1971-85, Colchester Archaeological Report, no. 8, Colchester: Colchester Archaeological Trust Ltd., 1995, p. 185; and by Sara Masseroli, “Analisi di una forma vitrea: La bottiglia Isings 50 nella Cisalpina romana,” in Il vetro dall’antichità all’età contemporanea: Aspetti tecnologici, funzionali e commerciah, Atti 2c giornate nazionali di studio, AIHV-Comitato Nazionale Italiano, December 14-15, 1996, Mila: Comune di Milano, 1998, pp. 41-49.

3. The bottle was found near the Porta Tiburtina in 1885: H. Dressel, ed., Corpus Inscriptionum Latinarum, v. 15, pt. 2, Inscriptiones Urbis Romae. Instrumentum Domesticum, Berlin: Georg Reimer, 1899, p. 876, no. 6997; Anton Kisa, Das Glas im Altertume, Leipzig: Verlag von Karl W. Hiersemann 1908, v. 3, p. 930, no. 39.

Published on October 25, 2017