Roman Terracotta Oil Lamp with a Ram


A Roman, mould-made, terracotta oil lamp featuring a concave discus enriched with a ram facing right. The anatomical features have been carful incised including the large curved horns and hooves. The animal is framed with two concentric circles and a filling hole is placed just below its stomach. A singular pierced handle is visible to the back and a rounded nozzle is separated from the discus by a horizontal line, flanked by two dots. The base displays a flat raised foot with the makers mark ‘MNOVIVST’ clearly carved. This signature was from an African workshop active during 120-180 AD.

This oil lamp resembles Bussière form D II 1

Date: Circa 120-180 AD
Condition: Fine condition, repairs to the handle.


SKU: LD-452 Category: Tag:

Faunus was the god of the forest, plains, and fields, and the Roman equivalent of the Greek god, Pan. Faunus was also the god considered to make the livestock fertile, and it is on this ground that rams are closely associated with him. On account of Faunus’ role power over fertility, many religious rites were performed using the blood and skins of goats. It is even thought that fertility rites involving whipping with goat skins were performed before formal courtship. The ram was one of the most popular sacrificial animals in the Roman world, and were also sacrificed as part of the suovetaurilia; one of the most sacred rites in Roman pagan antiquity.

To discover more about oil lamps in Antiquity, please visit our relevant blog post: Lighting The Way.

For more information about the meanings of animals in Roman art, see our relevant blog post: Animal Symbolism in Roman Art.

Weight 65.1 g
Dimensions L 11.3 x W 7.3 cm

Pottery and Porcelain


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