During the Roman period vessels were manufactured from many different materials, including pottery, wood, bone, glass, stone, rock crystal, and metal. For metal vessels a useful distinction can be made between precious plate (gold and silver) and base-metal vessels usually manufactured from copper alloys (bronze, brass) or tin/lead alloys (pewter).Various alloys of copper are mentioned in Roman-period texts,1 and scientific analysis (such as x-ray fluoresence) allows the composition of ancient vessels to be ascertained with relative ease.2 Roman metalworkers clearly appreciated the different properties of alloys, and the various elements of an individual vessel may be manufactured from various alloys.The properties of copper alloys allowed vessels to be produced by both casting and beating.3 Many exhibit traces of hammering, or a central hole in the base where they were mounted on a lathe for finishing. Additional elements (such as feet, handles, and decorative mounts) could be applied to a vessel with solder or rivets (Figure 1).
Faltonia Betitia Proba (fl. late 4th century) was a Roman poet, writer of a Christian cento (Lat. for patchwork), which circulated in the Eastern and Western Empire toward the end of the 4th century. The work consists of 694 verses culled from Virgil’s Eclogues, Georgics, and Aeneid, narrating episodes from Genesis, Exodus, and the four Gospels. The narrative sections are interspersed with proems, interludes, and epilogues pervaded by a confessional and devotional theme. The declared intention of the poet is to relate the “mysteries of Virgil” (arcana . . . vatis, v.12) and to show that Virgil “sang about the pious feats of Christ” (Vergilium cecinisse . . . pia munera Christi v. 23). This makes Proba one of the first Roman poets to have actively appropriated Virgil as a Christian prophet.There are over a hundred manuscripts containing Proba’s cento, the oldest of which date back to the 8th century, and a large number of early modern editions. Thanks to Giovanni Boccaccio’s De mulieribus claris (1374), Proba became important in the querelle des femmes as an example of an educated woman.
Hagiography is a problematic yet widely used term with varying connotations; it resists narrow definition. Outside the hagiographa of the Hebrew Bible (i.e., the books other than the Law and the Prophets), the concept is based on a core of Christian Greek and Latin works, from the 2nd to 5th century ce, which range from martyr accounts to monastic and episcopal biographies. A significant factor motivating their composition and reception is the cult of saints. Biblical heroes, especially Elijah, John the Baptist, and Jesus himself are the primary models, but non-Christian literary traditions, especially biographical and novelistic, are also important influences.Coined originally to indicate a group of books of the Old Testament (cf. TLL s.v. (h)agiographus, VI.3.2513.22–29), since the 19th century the term hagiography has been used for writings associated with and promoting the cult of saints, and more particularly for the biographical literature on ascetics, which took its starting point from .