III. Roman-Period Clay Lamps

Multinozzled Lamps


With two exceptions—cats. 558 and 560—the following lamps cannot be securely related to types recorded in the consulted literature. The presence of several nozzles is an artificial but practical criterion of presentation. However, in this catalogue, when multinozzled lamps belong to a known recorded type, they are catalogued within that type, as, for example, cats. 157–58 of Loeschcke type III.

Cat. 558, purchased in Asia Minor, belongs to Bruneau type XV,1 lampes moulées à plusieurs becs rangés en ligne. However, its light beige yellowish clay is not the dominant color of the Delos lamps. Apart from Bruneau’s no. 4450, pl. 26, two other parallels are given in Macalister 1912, p. 219, fig. 369 (Gezer), and Heres 1969, no. 214, pl. 22. Date according to Bruneau: Second half of second to beginning of first century B.C.

Many factors point to a Hellenistic origin for cat. 559: the shape of its oval nozzles, whose wick-hole areas are surrounded by a ridge; its rather big filling-hole with a lip; the two Cupids in relief; and its gray clay. It has some morphological similarity with Bruneau’s three-nozzled lamps (Bruneau 1965, nos. 4418 and 4428, pl. 26), which he presumes probably to be imported from a workshop in Asia Minor. This opinion was suggested by Heres’s lamp no. 211 from Smyrna, which lacks an ornament handle, but has a similar general shape (Heres 1969, p. 61, pl. 21). Date: second half of second to beginning of first century B.C.(?).

Cat. 560, purchased in Asia Minor, belongs to Bisi Ingrassia type VII B or Bailey type H, a rare form; in Herculaneum it is attested by only one example. This type is characterized by a rather long nozzle without volutes, a flat oval wick-hole area, and an early round-tipped nozzle tending to be heart-shaped. Date: second half of first century A.D.

With its shoulder-volutes (also called semivolutes), cat. 561, purchased in Italy, cannot appropriately be classified in Loeschcke type III ( = Broneer type XXI = Deneauve type V B = Bailey type D = Leibundgut forms X–XI), whose examples all have double-volutes. It is closer to Loeschcke type V and Deneauve type V C, again on the basis of the shoulder-volutes. It is a rare transitional form for which no comparanda have been found. Date: second half of first century A.D.

Cats. 562–63, purchased in Asia Minor, each has five nozzles with a flat oval wick-hole area decorated with semivolutes whose knobs are tangent to the discus. Because of the unusual form of these volutes, they cannot be classified as Loeschcke type III or V. Both lamps have a crescent-shaped ornament handle. Date: second half of first century A.D.(?).

Menzel publishes an example practically identical to cat. 564 (Menzel 1969, p. 74, no. 491, fig. 59, from Friedberg, Germany). Its particular base with several raised rings is not uncommon on Pannonian lamps, as shown by Menzel lamp no. 487; in addition, Menzel no. 487 and cat. 564 share the same twisted ridge surrounding the nozzles and separating them from the discus (Menzel 1969, p. 72, nos. 485–87, fig. 56.5 and .7). Menzel attributes his lamps nos. 485–87 to Iványi’s type VIII. He may be right, but we must remember that none of the Pannonian lamps illustrated in Iványi (Iványi 1935, pls. 29–31) shows such channeled nozzles as on cat. 564. We will nevertheless keep the date proposed by Iványi: second to third century A.D.

No parallel has been found for cat. 568, purchased in Asia Minor. A similar decor of grapes and tendrils may occur on late Ephesus lamps, although no close parallel exists in Miltner 1937. Without comparanda its date is problematic: fourth to fifth century A.D.(?).

Nor have parallels been found for cats. 565–66, both with two nozzles (the former, from Asia Minor, equipped with a solid handle; the latter, purchased in Cologne, Germany, with a pierced handle), nor for cat. 567, purchased in Cologne, with three nozzles and a pierced ring handle. Cats. 566–67 seem to come from the same production area, possibly Pannonia(?). Tentative date: second to third century A.D.(?).

Banner image: Detail of cat. 558