Roman Oil Lamp with Maker’s Mark


A Roman terracotta oil lamp, finely decorated with a wreath and incised detailing to the central discus. The lamp has a ring handle, and bears a maker’s mark to the rear of the body.

Date: Circa 2nd-3rd century AD
Condition: Fine with some encrustations and sings of ageing.


SKU: AH-391 Category:

In Latin a lamp was originally called a ‘lychnus‘, stemming from the Greek word ‘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.


Weight 258.4 g
Dimensions L 10 cm


Pottery and Porcelain