The decanter’s origins lie with the Roman serving bottle, which was typically square. Some Roman glass bottles may have been used for serving wine, but the Romans also used silver. After the collapse of the Roman empire, glass production went into a sharp decline until the revival of the glass trade in Renaissance Italy. By the 16th century, Venice had emerged as the principal centre of glass-making.
While the glass trade was expanding, other developments were afoot. Popular throughout northern Europe during the 16th and early 17th centuries were bulbous earthenware jugs with flat, small handles and short, narrow necks.