Roman, Imperial Period, ca. 1st century CE. A mold-made oil lamp with a projecting spout and a slightly concave discus. On the discus is a relief image of a gladiator, falling to the ground, his sword beneath him and his shield dropped in front of his feet. There are clear details of his skirt, plumed helmet, hands, and feet. The base is stamped with a maker's mark that reads something like "C O P P I…". Size: 3.9" L x 2.85" W x 1.05" H (9.9 cm x 7.2 cm x 2.7 cm)
An oil lamp depicting a fallen gladiator was part of a very exciting archaeological find - the burial of what seems to be a young woman gladiator in Great Dover Street, in Southwark, London. Discovered in 1996, the grave contained a partially cremated body whose sex and age could be determined and who was buried with several pieces of pottery that offered clues to her identity. One of these was the oil lamp with the same motif as this one; there was also an oil lamp depicting Anubis, the Egyptian god of the dead whom the Romans associated with Mercury, the god of the gladiators. She was also buried with burned pine cones, used at the nearby local amphitheatre for masking unpleasant smells. This oil lamp may have once belonged to someone like her.
Provenance: ex-Private British Collection.
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