posted on Sep, 26 2013 @ 04:25 PM
This 1,600-Year-Old Goblet Shows that the Romans Were Nanotechnology Pioneers and Researchers have finally found out why the jade-green cup appears
red when lit from behind
The colorful secret of a 1,600-year-old Roman chalice at the British Museum is the key to a supersensitive new technology that might help
diagnose human disease or pinpoint biohazards at security checkpoints.
To be honest I am reading Devil Colony by James Rowlins and wanted to search around a bit to discover if it is true, or even possible that
nanotechnology could have been discovered long before the enlightened scientists of today. It was more than exciting to find this piece from the
The glass chalice, known as the Lycurgus Cup because it bears a scene involving King Lycurgus of Thrace, appears jade green when lit from the
front but blood-red when lit from behind—a property that puzzled scientists for decades after the museum acquired the cup in the 1950s. The mystery
wasn’t solved until 1990, when researchers in England scrutinized broken fragments under a microscope and discovered that the Roman artisans were
nanotechnology pioneers: They’d impregnated the glass with particles of silver and gold, ground down until they were as small as 50 nanometers in
diameter, less than one-thousandth the size of a grain of table salt. The exact mixture of the precious metals suggests the Romans knew what they were
doing—“an amazing feat,” says one of the researchers, archaeologist Ian Freestone of University College London.
But did they know what they had discovered? If so there must be more evidence than this one piece right?
The ancient nanotech works something like this: When hit with light, electrons belonging to the metal flecks vibrate in ways that alter the color
depending on the observer’s position. Gang Logan Liu, an engineer at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, who has long focused on using
nanotechnology to diagnose disease, and his colleagues realized that this effect offered untapped potential. “The Romans knew how to make and use
nanoparticles for beautiful art,” Liu says. “We wanted to see if this could have scientific applications.”
The original fourth-century A.D. Lycurgus Cup, probably taken out only for special occasions, depicts King Lycurgus ensnared in a tangle of
grapevines, presumably for evil acts committed against Dionysus, the Greek god of wine. If inventors manage to develop a new detection tool from this
ancient technology, it’ll be Lycurgus’ turn to do the ensnaring.
The early history of the cup is unknown however from the Wikepedia page I found this also interesting:
The early history of the cup is unknown, and it is first mentioned in print in 1845, when a French writer said he had seen it "some years ago, in the
hands of M. Dubois". This is probably shortly before it was acquired by the Rothschild family. Certainly Lionel de Rothschild owned it by
1862, when he lent it to an exhibition at what is now the V&A Museum, after which it virtually fell from scholarly view until 1950. In 1958 Victor,
Lord Rothschild sold it to the British Museum for £20,000, £2,000 of which was donated by the Art Fund (then the NACF).
Ecclesiastes 1:9 reminds us “Whatever has happened, will happen again; whatever has been done, will be done again. There is nothing new on earth”
Most people would agree that we live in an age of technological innovation. However, some recent archeological discoveries may prove that some of
this new technology may have been discovered centuries or even millennia before, only to be lost, until now.
Take for example a 1,600 year old cup discovered in the 18th century. The Lycurgus Cup named after the king depicted on the glass from the sixth book
of Homer’s Iliad has fascinated scientists for decades. The unique properties from the glass allow the cup to change its color. In direct light the
glass of the cup resembles jade, but when the light shines through the glass the cup turns to a translucent ruby color. This unusual optical effect is
The cup resides at the British Museum. They acquired it in 1958 from Lord Rothschild, who had it in the family for almost a century. Various studies
were done on the cup since 1950, but a recent study has uncovered a technology that was thought to be a 20th century discovery.
So where is the rest of this early nanotechnology? You would think that with as amazing as this color changing cup would have been, that there would
have been a nano technological craze from that period onwards. Yet it seems to be the only documented piece discovered to date, why is that? What
could have caused the discovery to be stopped at that one chalice?
Just wanted to share an interesting find.
edit on 26-9-2013 by antar because: (no reason given)