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Roman terracotta oil lamp, Loeschke lamp type 1 b/c. The discus is decorated in high relief with On discus: cista (or a flaming altar), caduceus leaning to left. behind, and the basees of palm branches or cyprus trees to the sides. 

Late 1st BC/AD.

 

Cf. Vikić-Belančić, 106; Frecer, Gerulata, 12; (altar) Hayes, 239.

 

Very Fine Condition

Length 8.5 cms (3.34 ins).

 

Provenance: Ex Cambridge collection, purchased from Gorny & Mosch: Lot 490; December 2012

 

In the house of every Greek and Roman was an altar; on this altar there had always to be a small quantity of ashes, and a few lighted coals. It was a sacred obligation for the master of every house to keep the fire up night and day. Woe to the house where it was extinguished. Every evening they covered the coals with ashes to prevent them from being entirely consumed. In the morning the first care was to revive this fire with a few twigs. The fire ceased to glow upon the altar only when the entire family had perished.

Roman oil lamp with Cista (flaming altar)