In the Ancient Roman world, a lamp was originally called a ‘lychnus’, from the Greek ‘λυχνος’, with the oldest Roman lamps dating back to the third century BC. It is thought that the Romans took the idea for lamps from the Greek colonies of Southern Italy. During the Roman Empire, it became commonplace to use lamps in funeral ceremonies and for public purposes. Over time, the manufacture of lamps increased, and so did the variation in decoration, which depended mainly on the shape and size of the lamp. Pottery oil lamps could be made in three different ways: handmade, wheel made, or by mould. The use of the mould, which was made from clay or plaster, quickly became popular, because one mould could produce several lamps.
Fine Ancient Roman Samaritan Type Oil Lamp
A finely moulded Ancient Roman terracotta oil lamp, featuring a volutes canal nozzle and a deeply concave discus with one filling hole. The lamp’s shoulders are decorated with radiating lines, which, together with moulded, concentric circles, enhance the discus and its single filling hole. The shoulders are additionally enriched by stamped patterns. The reverse appears flattened and features the incised maker’s mark. The lamp’s shape might be referred to the so-called Samaritan type. The Samaritans occupied the region of modern-day Tel Aviv to Haifa, and produced a specific type of oil lamps, characterised by rounded body, volutes nozzle and geometric patterns.
Condition: Fine condition with a few earthly encrustations. Chip to the nozzle and some black deposits.