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Distributed for Karolinum Press, Charles University

Gerulata: The Lamps

A Survey of Roman Lamps in Pannonia

For the ancient Romans, lamps were more than just a way to be able to see in the dark—they were mythical muses, witnesses to secrets, and instruments of the supernatural. Far more familiar to the average Roman than the high art of mosaics, statues, or frescos, lamps created the atmosphere of day-to-day life in the homes, workshops, and public houses of Roman provincial towns.
            This catalog brings together for the first time the 210 ancient lamps excavated since 1949 in Bratislava-Rusovce, a suburb of the capital of Slovakia and the site of the ancient Roman settlement of Gerulata. What may appear at first glance as a standard panoply of Roman lamps is comprehensively examined to uncover signs of wear and use, unique personal inscriptions, and exceptional forms. This book reveals the stunning wealth of knowledge that can be gained from the study of lighting devices in this liminal settlement on the tough northern frontier of the Roman Empire.

400 pages | 200 halftones | 6 3/4 x 9 1/2 | © 2015


History: Ancient and Classical History


“Frecer’s book constitutes, in many aspects, a pioneer research, which will, in our opinion, become a ‘milestone book’ for every scholar desiring to approach a corpus of lamps from a well-defined site in its full richness”

Laurent Chrzanovski, Department of Roman Archaeology, Université Lyon II Lumière

“By its scientific value, [the work] will certainly become a benchmark for specialists.”

Florin Topoleanu, vice president of the Romanian National Archaeological Commission

Table of Contents

List of Abbreviations

1. Preface
2. Lampmaking Throughout the Ages and the Romans in Gerulata
2.1 History of Lampmaking
2.2. Rome, Pannonia and the archaeological history of Gerulata
3. Catalogue of Lamps
How to read this catalogue:
Table of lamps from Gerulata
3.1 Loeschke type I – Volute lamps
3.2 Loeschke type VIII – Round lamps
3.3 Fragments of Bildlampen
3.4 Loeschke type IX – Early Firmlampen
3.5 Loeschke type X – Later Firmalampen
3.6 Unspecified fragments of Firmalampen
Uncommon types
3.7 Lamps with multiple nozzles
3.8 Glazed lamps
3.9 Bronze lamps
4. Lamps for the Dead: the Cemeteries of Gerulata in Contemporary Funerary Practice
4.1 The last light
4.2 The case of Gerulata
5. Catalogue of Stamps, Inscriptions, Marks and Distinctive Features
5.1 Producers’ marks
5.2 Workshop marks
5.3 Inscriptions, incisions, and marks of a personal nature
6. Catalogue of Discus Scenes and Iconography
6.1 The sacred
6.2 The mortal
6.3 Animals
6.4 Plants, objects and ornaments
6.5 Indeterminate motifs
7. Conclusion
7.1 Concerning lamp types
7.2 Concerning manufacture
7.3 Concerning personal ownership and use of lamps
7.4 Lamps in the context of Roman culture in Gerulata
List of Illustrations Under License
Appendix A: Age categories used to describe human remains in Roman graves
Appendix B: Lamps dated by associated finds
Appendix C: Distinctive features on lamps

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