In Antiquity, 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.
Roman Oil Lamp with Laurel Wreath
A beautiful Ancient Roman oil lamp moulded in red terracotta, featuring a short canal nozzle, with a moulded volute design, a single applied handle and a slightly concave discus with one filling hole. The discus is decorated with moulded concentric circles, while the lamp’s body and shoulders are enriched by a lovely laurel motif. The reverse displays concentric circles, possibly a symbol of the maker of the lamp. The lamp’s shape is extremely similar to examples classified as Loeschcke type V, while the laurel decorative motif to the lamp’s shoulders can be identified as Bussiere form D X 4a.
Condition: Extremely fine, with signs of ageing to the surface.