The Ancient Library

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On this page: Gladius – Glass – Glauce – Glaucus



round shield and spear (splculum), and a visored helmet without eyeholes, and charged each other in the dark.


(From the Amphitheatre, Pompeii.)

There are many representations of gladia­torial combats in works of art, the most comprehensive of which is a large bas-relief in Pompeii. [Overbeck's Pompeii, figs. 106-112; or Schreiber's Bilderatlas, I xxx figs. 2-8.]

Gladlus. The Roman military sword, which was attached to a shoulder-strap round the neck, or to the girdle round the waist. The common soldiers wore it on the right side; the officers, having no shield like the common soldiers, on the left. It was a short, sharp, two-edged weapon, used more for thrusting than cutting. In the republican period it was only worn by magistrates when acting as military officers; but under the Empire it was the emblem of imperial power, and in consequence one of the insignia of the emperor and the com­manders nominated by him. After the introduction of the sword instead of the axe in executions, the ius gladil was the term expressing the full criminal jurisdic­tion conferred by the emperor on the pro­vincial governors.

Glass (Gr. hyMds, Lat. vltrum). Glass was for a long time procured by the Greeks and Romans' from Phoenicia and Egypt, where its manufacture had been carried on since very ancient times, and the art had reached an uncommon degree of perfection. The ancients produced glass-work of great beauty, both in form and colours. In later times it was the manu­facturers of Alexandria whose reputation stood the highest. The manufacturers carried on, down to the times of the later Empire, a considerable export trade in coloured blown-glass and mosaics. It is uncertain whether the Greeks manufactured their own glass in more ancient times. It was certainly a very costly article down to the time of the Peloponnesian War, and only came into general use at a late period.

In Italy the manufacture of glass began at the commencement of the imperial period, first in Campania and afterwards in Rome, where they were ambitious of surpassing the art of Alexandria. From Italy it spread to Gaul and Spain and the more distant provinces, and before long, glass cups, saucers, and bottles became an ordinary part of household furniture, The remains discovered at Herculangum and Pompeii show that glass windows were not unknown in the imperial age. The ancients were familiar with the manufacture of pure, white, transparent, crystal glass, which was much in request, as well as with the art of colouring glass in every tint. They could imitate every kind of stone, produce varying prismatic tints, and spread layers of different colours upon each other. The art of cutting and polishing glass was very advanced. From bits of glass, cut and polished, were made great numbers of mock pearls, or mock precious stones, and pastes, which were worn, instead of real stones, in rings, cut in intaglio or relief. The most important productions of art were: (1) the vasa dldtrlta. In these cups the outer side was made of filigree work, cut out of the hard mass. The outer network was of a different colour from the ground, with which it was connected by nothing but slen­der glass stalks. (2) The vessels which exhi­bit reliefs of white opaque glass on a dark and transparent ground, like the celebrated Portland Vase (see gems). Glass tablets, in­tended for mural decoration, were sometimes ornamented with reliefs of this kind.

Glauce (Glauke), also called Crgusa. The daughter of CrSon king of Corinth, who was betrothed to Jason, and slain out of jealousy by Medea by means of a poisoned robe. (See argonauts, conclusion.)

Glaucus (GlaukSs). (1) A god of the sea, therefore commonly called Pontids, who possessed the gift of prophecy. Origi­nally a fisherman and diver of Anthedon in Bceotla, he once chanced to eat of a herb which he had seen fish feed on to refresh themselves when tired. It drove him mad, and he threw himself into the sea, on which he was changed into a sea-god by Ocganug and Tethys. According to another story he threw himself into the sea for love of the young sea-god Mglicertes, with whom he was sometimes identified. He was also said to have been the builder and the pilot of the ArgO, and to have been changed into a god in a wonderful way after the battle of the Argonauts with the Tyrrhenians.

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All non-public domain material, including introductions, markup, and OCR © 2005 Tim Spalding.