III. Roman-Period Clay Lamps

Terracotta Lanterns


For lanterns in general, see Loeschcke 1909, pls. 28–36; Hug 1924; Forbes 1958; Groothand 1961; Bailey 1971–72, pp. 101–2, pl. 32a; and Bagatti 1972, pp. 39–41, fig. 5.

Cats. 610 and 611 should perhaps more appropriately be called lamp-holders rather than lanterns. Their efficiency as lighting devices must have been mediocre. They may have been used to carry or keep a lit lamp to protect it from draft, or to watch through the night in children’s rooms or sickrooms and frighten away evil spirits.

There is no secure basis for suggesting any date for cat. 611. As for cat. 610, we will propose the first century A.D. because of a certain similarity with Hayes’s lantern no. 565 from Egypt.

Banner image: Detail of cat. 610