Lamp Depicting Victory Holding a Shield, 1st century
Imperial Roman
Possibly Italy
1 × 4 7/8 × 3 ¾ in. (2.5 × 12.4 × 9.5 cm)
3-D Object/Sculpture
1972-09 DJ

1972 09 dj 20220720 v04 m
Learn More
This vessel represents a type of single-wicked lamp produced in the early Roman Imperial period in the 1st century CE, sometime between the reigns of Tiberius (14–37 CE) and Trajan (98–117 CE). Lamps were an important part of daily life, ritual activities, and festivities. This particular type of lamp was common throughout the Roman world. The body of the lamp was produced using a mold, with additional details modeled and stamped into the surface. On the concave discus is a winged personification of victory (Victoria), the Roman counterpart to Nike. She wears a long, belted dress and loosely holds a round shield with her right hand. The movement of her drapery and position of her wings indicate motion. This imagery was popular on lamps of the 1st century CE, with many similar examples that include inscriptions on the shield celebrating the New Year’s festival. The lamp in the Menil Collection, however, has no such inscription and its archaeological context is unknown.