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Albarello drug jar, Sicily, 1629

The earthenware drug jar has the date and the initials “SPQR” painted on to the side, which stand for Senatus Populusque Romanus (“The Senate and People of Rome”). The decoration includes a bearded man with outstretched arms and the trophies and spoils of war – the defeated enemies’ shields, armour, drums and musical instruments. These trophies would be displayed on a battlefield or a public place to commemorate a military victory.

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Glossary: drug jar

A (usually earthenware) container designed to hold apothecaries' ointments and dry drugs.

Glossary: pharmacy

The preparation and medicinal dispensing of drugs.