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Ancient Lamps Catalogue

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Notes | Abbreviations | Signatures | Inscriptions | Index of Motifs

Notes & Conventions

It is difficult to apply chronological terminology to lamps made over such a large area with strict accuracy without also appearing to be confusingly inconsistent, and some liberty has been taken.

The terms "Bronze Age" and "Iron Age" used in the first section refer to those periods for the region of the lamps shown (i.e. the Levant). The label "Greek Period" has been used to designate the era when a dominant culture in much of the Mediterranean Basin was that of Classical Greece. Objects made between the first and fifth centuries AD in territory once ruled by Rome have been almost universally classified as "Roman" (or "Late Roman" where appropriate), although the empire had been permanently divided by the end of the fourth century and the products of the eastern half could be described as Byzantine from that time onwards. The term "Byzantine" has been mainly reserved in the catalogue for objects made after the middle of the fifth century.

The lamps are described as they appear in the first image of them (i.e. viewed looking down at the top with the nozzle pointing downwards). The "front" of a lamp includes the nozzle, with the "back" at the opposite end (typically including a handle).

Conventional terminology is shown in the diagram at right.
(Note: the common use of the word "spout" to mean the nozzle is strictly inaccurate; a spout is for pouring whereas the primary use of a lamp nozzle is to house the wick.)


Abbreviations

L. Length
W. Width
H. Height
ih including handle
eh excluding handle
l. left
r. right

The traditional designations BC and AD are used to denote their respective eras but, less conventionally, AD is placed after the year rather than before it.

 

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Signatures & Marks

ARMEN
BASSA
CCLOSVC
CIVNDRAC
CRESCES
FORTIS
IANVARI
LMADIEC
LMVNSVC
MAVRCI
MNOVGERM
MNOVIVST
PRVDE
STROBILI
FY7
VKL1
VR9
RNA3
VA11
FY2, FY3
FY5
VR7
VR6
RNA4
RNA2
HA3, RNA6
FY4
FY1

A (alpha) HM10, PL4, RE2, RE5
CPWCIANOY (Sposianos) RG1

Planta pedis
BAM1, RAM1, RM4
SABATIVS (associated mark)
RNA14, RNA15
 

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Inscriptions

Aramaic RSP11
Greek BI2, BI3, BSP4
Latin RNA15, VA1
 

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Index of Motifs  
Africa (personification) RNA2
Altar HA2, VA8, VA12
Amazon VR1, VR9
Antelope BNA10
Anubis VA4
Apollo VR4

Basket(?) RSP9
Bear VA11
Bed RSP1, VA3, VR7
Boat RNA8
Bow RNA12, RNA15
Building RNA8
Bull PL2, RNA18

Caduceus RC2, RNA16, VA4, VA12
Calf VR6
Chair RNA7
Chariot VR10
Chicken BAM2
Chi-Rho monogram BNA6, BNA7
Cockerel VA13
Cornucopia HA4, RNA6
Cow VR6
Crescent CA2, CA4, CA6, CA7, HA2, RNA5
Cross BNA11, BSP7, BSP8, BSP13, CA9
Cupid RM7, VR2

Deer RNA14, VA5
Diana RNA12
Dog VA10
Dolphin RNA3, VA6

Eagle HA3, HA5, RNA13
Elephant RE1, RNA2
Erotic scene RSP1, RSP3, VA3, VR7
Erotes HM8
Euthenia HA4

Fisherman RNA8
Frog RE2, RE3

Galley RNA10
Game-board RNA7
Gladiator RAM1, RM8, VA7, VR8
Globe BNA7

Harpocrates RE1, RNA6
Head BNA2, BSP10, BSP11, PL1, PL3, PL4, RM6
Hercules RNA18, VR1
Hippolyte VR1
Horse BNA1, RC3, VR10
Horseman BNA1
Hunter VA10

Isis RE1, RNA11
Ivy HM10
Labrys VR9
Lance BNA1
Lares VA8
Leaf CA10, HA1, HA6
Lily RSP7, RSP8
Lion BNA3, RAM3, RNA1
Lyre VR4

Maenad RNA9
Man (unidentified) BAM2, BNA5
Mask CA3, FY4, HM8, HM12
Medusa VA9
Meleager VA10
Menorah BM1
Mercury / Hermes RC2, RNA16
Mirror RM7
Mule RAM3

Nilus HA4

Palm-branch VA4, VA12
Palm-tree BNA8, RNA15, RNA19
Palmette HA3
Pan RSP2
Peacock RM9, VR5
Pedum RSP2
Pine-cone PL5
Pomegranate VR5

Ram RC2, RNA16
Reed HA4
Rhyton VA8
Rosette BNA4, HA1, M1, M2, RM10, RSP11, RSP12, VR3

Satyr HM7
Serapis RNA11
Shell CA9
Shield BNA1, RAM1, RM8, RNA15, RNA19, VA1, VR1, VR2, VR9
Silenos HM7, HM8, PL1
Situla VA8
Snake HA2
Sol / Helios RG1, RNA17
Spear RNA14, VA10
Stag RNA14, VA5
Star RNA5
Steering-oar RNA3, RNA10
Sword RAM1, RM8, VA7

Throne RE1
Thyrsos HM2, RNA9
Tympanum RNA9

Venus RM7
Victoria RNA15, RNA19, VA1
Vine RAM2

Waterfront scene RNA8
Wreath BSP8, HM11, RC3, RM11, RSP12, VA2
 

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