Full Version: Cost of Cloth 1st-2nd century AD
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I'm writing an article of mosaic production methods. One thing that always comes up is did the Romans use the Reverse Method?. This is setting the mosaic in a tray of damp sand then glueing cloth over the top, taking the mosaic on the cloth to the villa and setting it into the cement. Allowing the cement to try then scrubbing the cloth off. Or just drawing the pattern on the cloth, in reverse and then glueing the tesserae face down onto the cloth.
I just wanted to know, do we have any idea of the comparative cost of cloth from around the 1st-2nd century AD?

I can't see the point in this method, we know they worked direct there's a lot of evidence for that. I just think why go to the extra cost of using the cloth? Was there a cheap source of material then? How much would cloth cost in comparison to other things we have prices for?

Any ideas would be appreciated.

I would think that the only way of getting anything about costs of various things is from the edict of Diocletian on prices of commodities, however this is throwing things into the third century and then he did reduce things for his laws were made in times of crisis.
Where you mention mosaics I have a piece from a Villa here in the North of England which is only three rows of tesserae, however they are fitted into pitch that surrounds plaster completely. It is about 5 inches long X 2 inches wide X 1 inch thick and it has 2 rows of pink and one of black, well 14 pink and 4 black but they are all set in pitch that goes right around the plaster which comes to the top of the tesserae pieces.
The pitch is only around 1mm thick but where it is on the top of the plaster it comes to the top level of the 1/2 inch square bits in between all of them as well.