Roman lamp with gladiator

From the Charles Ede Instagram Account
July 2, 2021


Now, as we find ourselves staring at a wet weekend, more than half way through the year, with the days shortening and the nights (unbelievably) drawing-in, the pressures of Covid still apparent, and the English summer with us in name only, one could be forgiven for having a weary sense of 'battling through'.

Here, moulded on the disc of a terracotta volute lamp, we see a thraex gladiator, the thick crest of his helmet in profile. He holds a rectangular shield and a short sword but seems to turn away from us, his head downturned as if fatigued.

These small mass produced items of everyday life show us something strangely intimate, and it takes but a little imagination to see such a lamp held in the palm of the hand, lighting someone to bed – maybe even a gladiator himself, looking for his pallet and rest.

Roman lamp with gladiator
First half of the 1st century AD
Length 9.2cm

Auguste Dozon (1822-1890), France
Private collection, France; by descent from the above, recorded in descendant's diary in 1957

Sold to a university museum in New Zealand in 2018

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