A large Roman creamware oil lamp depicting a gladiatorial scene. Circa 1st - 2nd Century AD.
Lamps like this one were made to be sold at Roman amphitheatres across the empire. Roman gladiators were like today's sports stars, so Romans were eager to have mementos of their visit to the arena.
Condition: Surface wear. Areas of brown slip remaining. Sandy deposits.
Dimensions: 12 cms x 8.5 cms approx.
Provenance: Ex. private collection, UK.
Roman oil lamps were made from fired clay, but are also found in bronze and even iron. However, it was the clay lamps, cheap to produce, that became the mainstay of everyday lighting in the Roman world. They were made using a two-part mould. Wet clay was pressed into each half of the mould and the two halves joined together. They were removed from their moulds while still soft, and the oil-hole and wick-holes pierced by hand. Finally, the lamp was fired in a kiln.
Roman oil lamps were decorated with almost every depiction imaginable, including gods, animals and erotic scenes. Roman oil lamps are one of the most diverse and popular antiquities for sale to collectors.
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