ROMAN OIL LAMP WITH GLADIATORS SCENE
Measurements: 10 cm- length
Description: A finely modelled Ancient Roman terracotta oil lamp, featuring a long canal nozzle with volutes, a decorated discus and one filling hole. The discus is finely decorated with two concentric circles surrounding the depiction of the combat between two gladiators, probably Thrax and Hoplomachus. The figures are here shown bare chested, wearing greaves on their legs, protective strapping manicae over their right arms, a double belt over the loin cloth twisted around their waist, and a double crested helmet. The Thrax is depicted falling back to the right, kneeled to the ground with one arm raised up. The Hoplomachus is shown standing, looking down at his enemy, holding a short blade and a rectangular-shaped shield.
The games in the arena were the main attraction during the Roman Republic and the Roman Empire. Men - sometimes even women - entered the amphitheatre to take part in fights against other gladiators, even against wild beasts.
The lamp appears marked to the underside with the maker's mark, GABINIA, a well-known oil lamp manufacturer. Lamps coming from his workshop have been recovered in Italy, Sardinia, North Africa and Gaul. The maker's mark was a symbol or name indicating the specific workshop that created the lamp.
Period: Circa 1st – 3rd Century AD
Condition: Fine. Signs of aging and earthly encrustations on the surface. Slight blackening to the spout from use.
Provenance: Ex major London collection collected by S.M. 1970-2010