Roman Bronze Oil Lamp. 1st - 2nd Century A.D
The earliest Roman lamps (like many of their wares) were copied from the Ancient Greeks, probably around the 2nd – 3rd centuries B.C.E. Within a few hundred years, the Romans were manufacturing lamps on a huge scale. Thousands were used during the secular games in 248 A.D. presented by Philip I. While at Pompeii, around 500 lamps were discovered lighting the shops of just one commercial street.
Lamps were also used in large quantities as votive offerings to the gods in temples and are often found in tombs where they were intended to light the way of the departed.
While the vast majority of Roman lamps are ceramic, the occasional bronze or silver lamp makes its way onto the antiquities market and are avidly snapped up by enthusiasts. This particular lamp was cast sometime between the 1st and 2nd centuries A.D. and displays a squat body with lugs flanking the short, scooped nozzle, a loop handle and trefoil reflector.
At around 10cm in length, this robust little lamp is a rare find and would make a great addition to any collection.
Acquired by Timeless Galleries on the UK Antiquities Market, 2020. Previously part of a private Belgian collection. Prior to that, part of a private German collection formed in the 1990s