Roman Terracotta Oil Lamp with Nike

£ 345.00

A Roman terracotta oil lamp with a decorated concave discus, rounded shoulders, and a handle with four ridges. Within its centre is an image of draped and winged Nike (Victory), holding a shield. The scene is surrounded by three concentric circles with the filling hole located to the left beneath Nike’s shield. The reverse features an uneven concentric circle marking a simple ring base. This lamp belongs to the Loeschcke type IV group, which is characterised by its circular rather than angular nozzle flanked by two volutes.

Date: Circa 1st Century AD
Condition: Excellent. Very clear discus. Some discolouration consistent with age.


SKU: SK-12 Category: Tags: ,

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.

Deities were frequently represented on Roman lamps. They include not only the gods of the Greco-Roman pantheon but also different cult figures. The motif of Nike holding a shield (often inscribed with the phrase “(Wishing) me a happy and fortunate new year”) was common on new year’s gifts or mementoes to mark a celebration.

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

Weight 82.9 g
Dimensions L 10.5 x W 6.5 x H 3 cm

Greek Mythology

Pottery and Porcelain


Reference: For a similar discus,The Metropolitan Museum, item 74.51.2169

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