Monday 6 August 2012

A touch of glass

Hand mirrors are one of those things often found in Roman era cemeteries...women were frequently buried with them. And more than most household items they can track the technological progressions of the classical era. For the best part of two thousand years bronze hand mirrors were the epitome of reflection, from the Egyptians through to the late Roman Republic in the first century BC. It was only in this later period that silver mirrors overtook bronze in the quality of reflection and the 'silvered' image became popular. However, as Pliny writes in the first century AD (100 years later), the 'modern' mirror was invented during his time, with results never seen with gold backing. For the first time the Roman world could see themselves as we see the world...a perfect reflection.

Find out if Calvus ever had a good look at himself


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