Roman Oil Lamp with Floral Decoration

£ 225.00

This lavishly decorated Ancient Roman light terracotta oil lamp features floral decoration on the shoulder which drape down from the image of n amphora at the base of the nozzle. Two shells, one on either side, can also be observed in the foliage. The lamp also features a small, pierced handle with a groove running down the middle, and the reverse of the lamp features a raised base inside of which is the makers mark.

Date: Circa 1st – 4th century AD
Condition: Extremely fine, complet and intact.


SKU: JLS-16 Category: Tags: ,

Across the Roman Empire, 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.

This specific type of oil lamp, made from a mould, with a solid handle, was popular from 3rdcentury AD and onwards and the design is typical of those made within the Roman colonies in the Holy Land and in North Africa.

Weight 35.8 g
Dimensions L 9 x W 6.7 cm

Pottery and Porcelain