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Document Details :
Title: Crystalla Revisited
Subtitle: A Philological Study of Rock Crystal Ware in Martial
Author(s): ENCUENTRA, Alfredo
Volume: 79 Issue: 4 Date: 2020
Given that colourless glass appears in Rome as an imitation of rock crystal (crystallus), the question arises as to whether the terms crystalla, crystallina, referring to cup sets made of rock crystal, may also apply to glassware (uitrea). In this paper I analyse a series of epigrams by Martial, a unique witness to Flavian Rome. For he not only describes the appearance and physical properties of rock crystal ware but also reflects on it as a part of imperial eulogy. His texts describe crystalla as exclusive and fragile goblets highly distinct from colourless glass or glass imitations, which Martial specifically terms calices audaces (‘fearless’) as servants feared no punishment should they break them.