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. During the Roman Empire, it became commonplace to use lamps in funeral ceremonies and for public purposes. The vast trade networks set with the expansion of the Roman Empire allowed this item to be spread across Europe, Eastern Asia and Northern Africa, which led to the development of several provincial variations. This style of oil lamp originated in North Africa, specifically Tunisia, but was broadly exported and then imitated all over the Roman Empire. The Chi-Rho motif here is one of the earliest forms of a Christogram, consisting of the first two capitalised letters in the Greek word for Christ (Christos or ΧΡΙΣΤΟΣ). This monogram was used frequently throughout the Late Roman Empire, found on everything from mosaics to signet rings.
To discover more about oil lamps in Antiquity, please visit our relevant blog post: Lighting The Way.