Ancient Roman Oil Lamp with Crescent-Shaped Knobs


A fine Ancient Roman terracotta oil lamp featuring an unadorned concave discus. The discus features the small – non-centred – filling-hole surrounded by two concentric circles. Two crescent-shaped knobs “ears” are featured on each side. The lamp’s nozzle is triangle-shaped and angular-tipped. The reverse features one concentric circle, creating a simple base ring. This lamp belongs to the Loeschcke type I variant, which is characterised by a shallow V-shaped channel between the discus and nozzle, narrow shoulder that slightly slopes inward with closely set concentric circles.

Date: Circa 1st Century BC - 1st Century AD
Provenance: From a specialist collection of Roman oil lamps formed by Robertson Brockie (deceased), all acquired before 2008 from a central London ADA gallery; Southport Lancashire.
Condition: Very fine condition, wearing consistence with aging.


SKU: HB-46 Category:

The Roman oil lamp, a product almost unparalleled in its distribution throughout the Roman Empire, developed towards the end of the Greek Hellenistic period and was to keep its general shape longer than any other item of pottery throughout the Mediterranean. The vast trade networks set up with the expansion of the Roman empire allowed for this item to be spread across Europe, Eastern Asia and Northern Africa. Favourite subject for decoration of oil lamps included gods and mythological scenes, scenes from everyday life, gladiatorial depictions, drawings relating to entertainment and theatre, and various animals, such as fish and birds. This lamp is probably an import, and is of unusual type – may be related to the so-called “ear lamps” that were produced in Asia Minor and Athens.

To discover more about oil lamps in Antiquity, please visit our relevant blog post: Lighting The Way.

Weight 98.7 g
Dimensions L 9.5 x W 8.15 cm


Pottery and Porcelain

You may also like…