Roman Unguentarium (Perfume Bottle)
3 1/4 x 1 9/16 x 1 9/16 in. (8.2 x 4 x 4 cm)
Bryn Mawr College
Accession Number: P.3197
Classification: Containers and Vessels; Vessels; Unguentaria
Collection: Robinson Collection
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- Roman - Refers broadly to the period, styles, and culture of the state centered on the city of Rome from the period from the founding of the city ca. 700 BCE through the events leading to the founding of the republic in 509 BCE, the establishment of the empire in 27 BCE, and the final eclipse of the Empire of the West in the 5th century CE. Ancient Rome became a powerful force and supplanted Greek and Etruscan influence on the Apennine peninsula. Its rule and influence gradually encompassed a wide area in Europe, northern Africa, the Middle East, and Asia Minor. Its influence was wide in scope, including sculpture, painting, architecture, engineering, language, the road system, law, and many other areas of culture. Roman art and architecture is characterized by early derivations from Greek art and architecture, but it gradually developed into a style of its own, absorbing characteristics of styles from the far flung regions under its control.
- unguentaria - Containers probably used to hold ointments and perfume. Early ceramic examples found at Petra (probably 4th-century BCE) were in the typical Hellenistic form of the spindle bottle, but this form was later completely replaced by a series of high-necked types with round to ovoid bodies of varying and apparently standardized forms (from the 1st century BCE onwards). The number of unguentaria found at Petra suggests that they were made locally; their manufacture would have been linked to the myrrh and other unguents that the Nabataeans traded. They have also been found at western sites. Pear-shaped glass unguentaria were later made at various locations in the Arabian peninsula.
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