Roman Terracotta Oil Lamp with Luna & Sol Invictus


A well rendered ancient Roman oil lamp in light coloured terracotta, featuring a heart-shaped nozzle and a large, concave and decorated discus.

The lamp’s shoulders are finely decorated with a moulded pattern, of alternating vine leaves and grapes. The discus depicts the Roman goddess Luna and the Roman god Sol Invictus, facing each other. Sol Invictus is portrayed bearded, wearing the radiate crown while Luna appears wearing the crescent moon crown. There is a filling hole, situated off-centre and a small air hole to the edge of the discuss, just above the nozzle.

A ring handle has been placed to the rear of the lamp, indented with two grooves. The base of the lamp is largely indicated by an external circular groove and two internal circular grooves. Within this band, three ovo patterns, evenly-spaced, appear, leaving a distinctive stamp mark.

Date: Circa AD 170 - 230
Provenance: Ex S.M. collection, London, 1948 - 2000.
Condition: Condition: Fine. Signs of aging and earthly encrustations on the surface. Stress crack to the discus.


SKU: AH-681 Category: Tags: , ,

In Ancient Roman mythology and culture Sol Invictus, which literally means ‘unconquered sun’, was the official sun god of the later Roman Empire and a patron of soldiers. The goddess Luna was the divine embodiment of the Moon, her Greek equivalent was Selene.

This lamp falls into a distinct group, labelled as Bussière form D X 5. Their distinctive feature is a shoulder decorated with alternating vine leaves and grapes, often in deep relief.The shoulder form is categorised as Loeschcke form VII a. Both labels are taken from the lynchologists that have categorised them.

The stamp on the reverse is a common feature on African lamps of this type and gives a more precise dating, based on the time of manufacture of the workshop. An example has also been found of an Italic lamp with the same stamp, insinuating that there may have been two workshops.


Weight 125.1 g
Dimensions L 12.2 x W 8.9 x H 5.4 cm

Pottery and Porcelain



Roman Mythology


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