Lux Lucerna

 

Reference Library

Listed below are books in the English language that concern lamps.  Some of the books will be available to order from either high street or on-line book stores; however, many are now out of print and can only be obtained from secondhand booksellers (if very lucky) or by request from libraries.

A brief sentence summarizing the main content of the book follows each entry.

If you are aware of any books not on the list and think they should be included then please contact luxlucerna
 

Adler, N., A Comprehensive Catalogue of Oil Lamps of the Holy Land From the Adler Collection, Jerusalem, 2004.
As it says, a comprehensive and also well illustrated collection of lamps from the Holy Land.

American School of Classical Studies at Athens, Lamps From The Athenian Agora, Princeton, 1963.
A slim publication that summarises the findings made by the American School of Classical Studies.

Bailey, D.M., A Catalogue of The Lamps In The British Museum, vol. I, Greek, Hellenistic And Early Roman Pottery Lamps, British Museum, 1975.
This and the further volumes listed below are the definitive catalogue of lamps within the British Museum.  Unfortunately, as of 2018, only the third and fourth volumes are still in print.

Bailey, D.M., A Catalogue of The Lamps In The British Museum, vol. II, Roman Lamps Made In Italy, British Museum, 1980.

Bailey, D.M., A Catalogue of The Lamps In The British Museum, vol. III, Roman Provincial Lamps, British Museum, 1988.

Bailey, D.M., A Catalogue of The Lamps In The British Museum, vol. IV, Lamps of Metal And Stone, And Lampstands, British Museum, 1996.
No pottery lamps in this, but useful as a comparison with metal lamps of the time.

Bailey, D.M., Greek And Roman Pottery Lamps, British Museum, 1972.
A slim publication that gives a brief overview of pottery lamps and their history.

Bailey, D.M., Excavations At Sidi Khrebish Behghazi (Berenice), Vol. 111, Part 2, Ministry of Teaching And Education, Tripoli, 1985.
Pottery lamps, mostly fragments, unearthed in a joint venture by the Libyan government and the British Museum.

Bailey, D.M., Pottery Lamps, in Strong, D. and Brown, D., Roman Crafts, Duckworth, London, 1976.
A good account of how lamps were made.

Broneer, O., Corinth, vol. IV, part II:  Terracotta Lamps, American School of Classical Studies At Athens, Cambridge, Mass., 1930.
A pioneering work that attempted one of the earliest typologies of Greek and Hellenistic lamps.

Broneer, O., Isthmia, vol. III: Terracotta Lamps, American School of Classical Studies At Athens, Princeton, New Jersey, 1977.
A detailed study of lamps from the site of Poseidon’s sanctuary on the Isthmus of Corinth.  It follows the typology famously set out by Broneer in his earlier work at Corinth.

Bussiere, J. and Wohl, B.L., Ancient Lamps in the J. Paul Getty Museum, Getty Publications, Los Angeles, 2017.
A useful catalogue of over 600 lamps in the Getty Museum.  The catalogue is available on-line and also as a free download at https://www.getty.edu/publications/ancientlamps/

Croom, A., Running The Roman Home, The History Press, 2015.
Includes a short chapter on lighting in the Roman household.

Djuric, S., The Anawati Collection: Ancient Lamps From The Mediterranean, Eika, Toronto, 1995.
A well presented catalogue of lamps.

Eckhardt, H., Illuminating Roman Britain, Editions Monique Mergoil Montagnac, 2002.
A very detailed study of lamps and their uses from Roman Britain.  The surviving evidence is sparse and so speculation inevitably exceeds firm conclusions.

Forbes, R.J., Studies In Ancient Technology, vol. VI, E.J. Brill, Leiden, 1958.
Along with Robins, this book looks closely at early lamps and the technology of lighting.

Frecer, R., The Lamps:  A Survey of Roman Lamps in Pannonia., Karolinum Press, Charles University, 2015.
A study of the 210 lamps found in the former Roman settlement of Gerulata near Bratislava.

Guhl, E. and Koner, W., The Life of The Greeks And Romans, trans. Hueffer, F., London.
An old survey of all things Greek and Roman that contains a little information on lighting appliances. 

Hayes, J.W., Ancient Lamps In The Royal Ontario Museum, vol. I, Greek And Roman Clay Lamps, Royal Ontario Museum, Toronto, 1980.
A large collection of lamps and therefore a very useful catalogue.

Herrmann, J. and Van Den Hoek, A., Light From The Age of Augustine, Harvard Divinity School, Cambridge, Massachusetts, 2002.
An interesting examination of the Christian iconography of African red slip ware lamps.

Howland, R.H., The Athenian Agora, vol. IV, Greek lamps And Their Survivals, The American School of Classical Studies At Athens, Princeton,
New Jersey, 1958.
A very comprehensive survey of lamps from the Athenian Agora.  Every pottery shard is catalogued and placed into context.  Remains the definitive work on Greek lamps.

Kelsall, P., Lighting The Ancient World, Stone, 2018.
A comprehensive survey of the development, manufacture, art and uses of the pottery lamp from Stone Age to Middle Ages.

Kennedy, C., The Development of The Lamp In Palestine, in Berytus vol. XIV.2, Ejnar Mundsgaard, Copenhagen, 1963.
An early attempt at a typology for lamps from the Holy Land based upon the Whiting collection at Yale University.

O’ Dea, William T., The Social History of Lighting, Routledge and Kegan Paul, London, 1958.
Discussing all forms of lighting from ancient times to the present day.  However, not a great deal on ancient lamps and much of that now rather dated.

Mlynarczyk, J., Alexandrian And Alexandrian-Influenced Mould-Made Lamps of The Hellenistic Period, British Archaeological Reports International Series 677, Oxford, 1977.
A detailed analysis of Hellenistic lamps found in and around Alexandria.

Perlzweig, J., Lamps From The Athenian Agora, American School of Classical Studies At Athens, Princeton, New Jersey, 1963.
The same as Howland but for the Roman Imperial period.

Robins, F.W., The Story of The Lamp (And The Candle), Oxford University Press, 1939.
Perhaps one of the earliest attempts at a history of lamps but also including other forms of lighting.  Written with enthusiasm and a real love of his subject, but sadly now out of print.

Rosenthal, R. and Sivan, R., Ancient Lamps In The Schloessinger Collection, Hebrew University of Jerusalem, 1978.
The emphasis is upon lamps from the Holy Land but most types are represented. The pictures of the lamps appear with the text, which is most convenient.

Slane, K. W., Corinth, vol. XVIII, part II:  The Sanctuary of Demeter and Kore, The Roman Pottery and Lamps, American School of Classical Studies at Athens, Princeton, New Jersey, 1990.
A detailed examination of lamps and other pottery from a localised environment on the outskirts of ancient Corinth.

Sussman, V., Oil Lamps in the Holy Land: Saucer Lamps, British Archaeological Reports International Series 1598, 2007.
Along with the following four volumes, a comprehensive survey of the lamps held by the Israel Antiquities Authority. 

Sussman, V., Greek and Hellenistic Wheel and Mould Made Closed Oil Lamps in the Holy Land, British Archaeological Reports International Series 2015, 2009.

Sussman, V., Roman Period Oil Lamps in the Holy Land, British Archaeological Reports International Series 2447, 2012.

Sussman, V., Late Roman to Late Byzantine/Early Islamic Period Lamps in the Holy Land:  The Collection of the Israel Antiquities Authority, Archaeopress Archaeology, 2017.

Sussman, V., Ornamented Jewish Oil Lamps, Warminster, 1982; reprinted by Aris & Phillips Ltd., 1983.
Examining the Jewish iconography of lamps from the Holy Land.

Szentleleky, T., Ancient Lamps, Akademiai Kiado, Amsterdam, 1969.
Another comprehensive catalogue of lamps.

Walters, H.B., Catalogue of The Greek And Roman Lamps In The British Museum, Trustees of The British Museum, London, 1914.
An old and pleasantly musty book that was the forerunner of Bailey’s four volumes.  A useful introduction, but much has been discovered since.  Out of print, needless to say, but expensive copies still available.

 

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