Massive Fragmentary Roman Lamp with Known Maker’s Name


A large fragment of a massive Roman oil lamp. Much of the lamp is missing, with only part of the base and walls remaining, and repaired sections of the discus. The base is clearly marked with maker’s name, EV CARPI.

Date: Circa 1st-2nd century AD
Provenance: Ex Museum Ludwig, Cologne. From the collection of Arno Jumpertz, Leverkusen, Germany, 1924-1984. Much of the collection was exhibited at Neus museum, 1985.
Condition: Fair condition; discus fragments repaired.


SKU: AS-3707 Category: Tag:

At Rome, 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. Common decorative themes depicted on the discus were entertainment scenes (such as gladiators in combat), common myths, and animals. 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.

The name of the lamp maker is recorded in the ‘Catalogue of the Lamps in the British Museum’ (D.M Bailey) which notes that “There is a huge number of northern Provincial lamps bearing the name of this Flavian North Italian lampmaker whose products have been found at Pompeii”.

Weight 367 g
Dimensions L 13.5 cm

Pottery and Porcelain