Lamp, mould made. Circular with carinated shoulder. Broad rim and concave discus with central fill hole. Very short rounded nozzle. Slightly raised flat base set off by groove. Two encircling grooves demarcate rim and discus. On rim, oak-leaf and acorn wreath, tied at rear. On discus rosette composed of four double petals. On base ROMANENSIS stamped in single line with small dot-within-a-circle- motif. Grey brown clay with dull glaze on upper body dribbing below shoulder, fired unevenly light orange-brown to dark brown. No signs of use. (Webb, Jennifer M., "Corpus of Cypriote Antiquities", Studies in Mediterranean Archaeology, Vol. XX: p.17)
CH classification LIGHTING Kerosene & Oil oil lamp
CH classification ARCHAEOLOGY Cypriot
Circa 1st Century CE-2nd Century CE
H28mm x W78mm x D108mm
Pottery, grey brown clay with glaze
Decorative motif: On rim, oak-leaf and acorn wreath, tied at rear. On discus rosette composed of four double petals.
History and use
The need to extend daylight hours has always been with us. Before the advent of electricity, allowing a space to be illuminated with the simple flick of a switch, light was achieved by the use of a candle or a lamp. Artificial lighting via candles and lamps was widespread through the ancient world. Lamps were utilised in private and public buildings, in temples and sanctuaries, in street lighting and in ceremonies.
The makers mark on the base of this lamp indicates it was made by the workshop of ‘Romanensis’ located in the Greek city of Knidos (modern Turkey). Lamps by Romanensis well known. The prolific Romanensis workshop exported high quality lamps all over the eastern Mediterranean. At least 31 other Romanensis signed lamps have been found in Cyprus. There is considerable variation in the signature, which has been found to be written in both Greek and Latin, often with the letter S reversed. The output of this workshop was also copied and the signature imitated. At least five motifs are known from this workshop - all decorating the lamp's discus - including plants, wreaths, animal fights and myths.