A distinction should be made between the Bestiarii (the venatores) who were gladiators paid to fight against animals in specialised ‘hunts’ within the arena. They differ to the criminals and unfortunates who were sentenced to fight to the death against a ferocious beast, known as damnatio ad bestias (condemnation to the beasts).
A Roman Terracotta Oil Lamp with a Bestiarius
A Roman terracotta oil lamp featuring a decorated discus, rounded body and a heart-shaped nozzle. There is a ring handle to the rear and concentric circles decorated the base.
The discus features a fighting Bestiarius, or specifically a venatores, a gladiator that participated in hunting animals. The gladiator is depicted armoured, wearing a helmet, as the bear he is fighting approaches. The shoulders of the lamp are also decorated with foliage.
Provenance: From the collection of Arno Jumpertz, Leverkusen, Germany, 1924-1984. Much of the collection was exhibited at Neus museum, 1985.
Condition: Loss of red glaze to majority and some encrustation. Otherwise complete.