These ceramic jars were used by the Romans to store one of their more unusual delicacies, the glis glis or edible door mouse. The largest of all dormice the glis glis can reach sizes of 32 cm nose to tail, this includes around thirteen 'delicious' centimetres of body (according to the Romans)
Dormice were definitely the food of the rich as the process of keeping and feeding these rodents would have involved considerable time and effort. However, fattening dormice almost seemed like a competitive sport with hosts attempting to serve their guest the fattest possible mice. Mice kept in glilarium and fed on nuts, fruit and berries until they were considered plump enough to impress ones guests, and presumable shame a previous host.
Glilaria (plural of Glirarium) were made by potters to mimic the burrows of dormice and included ledges that are attached onto the internal surface of the jar, these could be filled with treats for the dormice to gorge themselves on. Ventilation holes were also essential, providing sufficient air for the dormice to survive but limited light. Leaving the dormice little to do but eat, until they were fat enough to provide a noble guest with a few bites of rich mouse meat.
It is likely that the jars were sealed with a wooden stopper or had some form of fabric or leather lid tied around the top, as we are unaware of any ceramic lid ever having been discovered for these jars.
Approx. 445 mm tall, diameter 320 mm
This replica Roman pot has been hand made in Northumberland by Potted History, inspired by original artefacts. It has been fired to a temperature of 1000°C.
Health & Safety
This is a Museum Quality Replica made using the tools and techniques that would have been used during the Roman era and we do not recommend it is use to house dormice or any animal. This would be cruel! So don't do it.
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