Erotic scenes were a popular decorative motif recovered in different Roma objects, such as intaglios, lamps and wall paintings. Erotic imaginary was deeply connected with Venus and her cult, hence the presence of the goddess on lamps of the same subject. Erotic scenes were not only associated with sexuality and pleasure, but also with the idea of luxury, wealth and elite status.
This type of lamp is known as Loeschcke VIII (Bussiére form D II 1), of which had many variants but generally characterized by a circular body and a short, rounded nozzle. Based on the nozzle type we can further identify it as Bussiére form 4b, due to the inclusion of straight lines and two dots, forming a trapezoidal shape. Lamps of this type were popular from the end of 1st century AD and spread all over the Roman Empire. The lamp can be dated further through the prominant maker’s mark. The marker’s mark AVF FRON refers to the name Aufidius Fronimus, a North African workshop active during the mid 2nd century, circa AD 130-170.
To discover more about oil lamps, please visit our relevant blog post: Lighting The Way.