Roman glass, jewelry and other luxury wears reached a particular splendor during the Augustan age, at the beginning of the Empire.
Roman glass, jewelry and other luxury wears reached a particular splendor during the Augustan age, at the beginning of the Empire. The period of peace achieved during the rule of Augustus and Augustus’ own ability in putting himself forward as a docile and benevolent leader was welcomed by all, especially after the vicious in-fighting of the Roman civil wars.
This naturally provided fertile ground in the artistic arena, which lent itself to be used for the political ends of an elite which saw itself as the inheritor and successor of Greek culture.
This meant that in many ways these art works, including glass and jewelry also, were deprived of much of the expressive freedom one might expect and hope for. I think it is fair to say that in spite of this, these works of art remain admirable. This is possibly because to the average modern viewer the messages of political propaganda have lost direct meaning and all that remains is the sheer beauty of classical art and exquisite craftsmanship which counterpoint a period of tranquility and wellbeing.
The buyers of this fine art were the conservative political elite: This is the general environment of the markets for glass ware, pottery, cameos and jewelry. The quality achieved of these luxury wares was such that they continued to be an example of craftsmanship and beauty to be imitated throughout the empire’s lifetime.
Collections, particularly of silverware have been found throughout the empire. This demonstrates how attached their owners might be to their collections.