Two-handled roman - greek Kantharos
Roman Kantharos, a stylish drinking cup with two tall, delicate handles and the beauty associated with the Dionysian cult.
Origin and function of the Kantharos
Kantharoi (plural, Greek K?νθαρος) are two-handled bowls, which were very popular in Roman times. They were developed from Greek pottery which was found in this form as early as 2000 BC. Originally the vase form was used as a typical official votive offering, but it was also used in private worship (for example, during worship in the temple and as grave goods). It was used for secular purposes from the beginning of the Hellenistic period (ca. 336 BC).
The Roman Kantharos was generally made from glass and used mainly for holding wine at the Symposium, an ancient drinking ceremony.
The Roman Kantharos is a cup-like drinking vessel. The tall loop handles on both sides of the body of the vessel, which protrude above the level of the lip, are characteristic.
- Roman Kantharos from the Roman Shop collection
- Glass height: ca. 12cm
- Width between two handles: 16cm
- Colour: blue with green lustre
- Period: 1st-2nd century AD.
- Location: Lyon / France
The Roman Kantharos and its usual material
Glass is probably as old as the earth itself. In nature it can be produced by a lightning bolt, a volcanic eruption, or a meteorite impact.
The Roman historian Pliny the elder (23-79 AD) included the origin and development of glass in his "Historia Naturalis".
According to tradition, it was the Romans who, approximately 100 years after Christ, helped spread the art of glass making over a very large area.
Glass manufacture was improved in Alexandria (during the reign of the emperor Trajan) by adding manganese oxide and refined oils.
This Roman Kantharos leads us in the footsteps of Dionysus (known to the Romans as the god Bacchus).
He was the god of wine and pleasure. A drinking vessel like this would be created as an offering to his cult, and is still considered as one of its characteristic features.
There is another example in the Roman Shop’s collection.
It is a Roman Kantharos with prunts and thread overlay. Its catalogue number is 31105.
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