Bronze Oil Lamp in the Shape of an African Slave

Illustration

Arienne King
by Sailko
published on 09 March 2018

This Roman oil lamp of unclear provenance was made in the 1st Century CE. It portrays an Aethiopian slave, with barbarians like Africans and Celts being popular motifs in Roman art. The lamp has also been suggested to have erotic connotations, and its subject may well have been a sexual slave. This too is related to Roman artistic motifs, and both Hellenistic and Roman lamps frequently portrayed both explicitly and implicitly erotic themes. (National Archaeological Museum of Aquileia, Italy)

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