Roman Terracotta Oil Lamp with Serapis


An Ancient Roman terracotta oil lamp featuring a round body with a sunken discuss framed by a thick ridge which leads down the channel and around the nozzle. A single lug handle has been applied to the back. The shoulder is decorated with foliage and bunches of grapes. The discuss displays the bust of the deity Serapis facing left. He is depicted bearded and wears a modius surrounded by five long rays. Two filling holes sit on either side of the deity. The reverse features a ring foot with some incised markings indicating the initials of the maker.

This oil lamp resembles Ennabli (Raqqada) type 15

Date: Circa 3rd century AD
Provenance: Ex London gallery 1980s. From the collection of a deceased Lancashire gentleman.
Condition: Very fine condition, encrustation to the surface.


SKU: LD-509 Category: Tags: , ,

Serapis (Σέραπις) is a Graeco-Egyptian composite deity, blending the transformative powers of the Egyptian gods Osiris and Apis with the heavenly authority of the Greek god Zeus. His cult was developed under the Ptolemaic ruler Ptolemy I Soter (305-282 BC) as a means to unify his Greek and Egyptian subjects, and later gained popularity throughout the Roman Empire, until it was banned under Theodosius I (AD 379-395). Zeus Serapis became the tutelary divinity of the Severan imperial dynasty. The god’s association with the emperor enhanced the mystique of the position, imbuing the Roman ruler with his divine qualities as a giver of salvation and immortality.

To find out more about Roman gods, please visit our relevant blog post: Roman Gods in Mythology.

Weight 142.4 g
Dimensions L 12.2 x W 8.6 cm

Pottery and Porcelain

Roman Mythology


Reference: For a similar discuss,The J. Paul Getty Museum, item 83.AQ.377.217

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