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prominent article, of trade. Doubtless the rich freights of "the ships
of Tyre," mentioned in Scripture, may in part have been composed of a
material now as common as any of its original elements.|
From Tyre and Sidon the art was transferred to
Rome. Pliny states it flourished most extensively during
the reign of Tiberius, entire streets if the city being then occupied by
the glass manufactories. From the period of Tiberius the progress of the
art seems more definite and marked, both as relates to the quantity and
mode of manufacture.
It was during the reign of Nero, so
far as we can discover, that the
first perfectly clear glass, resembling crystal, was manufactured.
Pliny states that Nero, for two cups of ordinary size, with handles,
gave six thousand sestertia, equal in our currency to about two hundred
and fifty thousand dollars; and that rich articles of glass were in such
general use among the wealthy Romans as almost to supersede articles
of gold and silver. The art, however, at that period, seems to have
been entirely devoted to articles of luxury, and from the great price
paid, supported many establishments,-- all however evidently upon a
comparatively small scale, and confined, as it would appear, to families.