Roman Terracotta Oil Lamp with Vine-Leaves


An ancient Roman terracotta oil lamp featuring a deep-set body with a single pierced handle. The lamp sits upon a flat base. The concave discuss is unadorned with a central filling hole and is framed by four concentric circles. The shoulder is enriched with incised vine-leaves.

Date: Circa 2nd century AD
Provenance: Collected in the 1930's/1940's by the former owner’s father.
Condition: Excellent condition, encrustation to the surface, old collectors label on the discuss and base.


SKU: LD-605 Category: Tag:

The Roman oil lamp, originally called a ‘lychnus’, from the Greek ‘λυχνος’, has been almost unparalleled in its distribution throughout the Empire. First developed towards the end of the Hellenistic period, oil lamps were to keep their general shape longer than any other item of pottery throughout the Mediterranean. 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. Oil lamps were used by the Romans for mainly three reasons; to light private and public spaces, to give as offerings in temples to the gods and to be placed within a grave or funerary context.

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

Weight 195.7 g
Dimensions L 15.2 x W 11 x H 6.6 cm

Pottery and Porcelain


Reference: For a similar shape,The Metropolitan Museum, item 74.51.2074

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