Oil lamps: mass product in Roman times
Oil lamps became a mass product in the Roman Empire. They were made by lamp manufacturers who stamped their company name on the bottom of the lamp. The oil lamps were decorated, had a handle and a larger hole for the wick and a smaller hole for filling with oil. In addition to the oil, tallow, tar, and fat were used as common fuel materials.
Zodiac - Zodiac sign Cancer
On our Zodiac oil lamp is centered the zodiac sign Cancer. Surrounding this Cancer is a border of decorations in the form of arcs and dots. The carrying handle has a line-shaped ornamentation. Small ornaments are found on the right and left sides of the outer rim. Opposite the carrying handle is the hole for the burning wick. Filling this oil lamp cancer through the small hole on the top. Other product dimensions include:
- Product material: ceramic
- Color: terracotta / black
- Dimensions: length: about 9.4 cm x width: about 7.7 cm
Oil lamp: present in every household
Oil lamps were inexpensive and easy to use. Olive oil was primarily used as fuel. This oil was abundant in the Mediterranean region. With the onset of darkness, oil lamps illuminated both in private households and, for example, in taverns. These lamps also served as illuminants for rooms inside buildings. They were lovingly decorated with ornaments, patterns and motifs from everyday life, profession, zodiac, theater, circus and military. Everywhere they bathed interiors and darkness in a warm, comforting light.
On the trail of ancient lighting
Take your students on a journey through time on the topic: ancient lighting in the Roman Empire. Extinguish any present-day artificial light source. Light one or more oil lamps. Think together about how oil lamps are produced and why everyday motifs were important to people back then? Do you make your own oil lamps? What features are part of a well-functioning oil lamp? What fuels are suitable for their operation?
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