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Home > Auctions > 25th February 2020 > Romano-Egyptian Alexandrian Mars Oil Lamp

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LOT 0003

GBP (£) 800 - 1,000
EUR (€) 960 - 1,200
USD ($) 1,040 - 1,300

£720 (EUR 862; USD 934) (+bp*)

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Romano-Egyptian Alexandrian Mars Oil Lamp

1st century BC-1st century AD

A large and important terracotta oil lamp in the form of a statue of Mars dressed as a late Ptolemaic or Roman officer, holding sword (xiphos), shield (thureos) and dagger (xiphidion); the head covered by a Phrygian helmet (kranos), under which is visible part of the padded cap (pilos kentouklon), wearing a muscled armour (thorax statos) worn over a padded garment (subarmalis) furnished with pendant protective stripes (pteryges) at shoulders and waist, Greek military boots (cothurni) at the feet, wearing the military cloak (chlamys) as symbol of the rank; holes in the column for the lamp wicks. 1.2 kg, 35cm (13 3/4"). Fine condition, repair to centre. Rare.

From a major German collection; previously acquired from Zuhlsdorf, Koln, in 1984; accompanied by a detailed collector's card.
See Sekunda, N., Seleucid and Ptolemaic reformed armies 168-145 BC, volume 2, Stockport, 1995, nn.91,93; see also Weber, W., Königliche Museen zu Berlin. Die Ägyptisch. Griechischen Terrakotten, Berlin, 1914, pp.109 ff.
These Egyptian terracotta warriors usually wore tunic, boots and cloak, and were armed with a cuirass and a thureos shield, the umbo and spina of which can only just be made out. They were intended to represent the god Ares (Roman Mars) as late Graeco-Egyptian Ptolemaic or Roman warriors, having the right hand resting or holding the hilt of the sword, worn on the right side, in the Roman manner (the dagger being here represented on the right side of the body). They are a precious document for the representation of the Ptolemaic warriors of Cleopatra's army and of the early Roman garrisons in Egypt.