Opaiţele de tip „Firmalampen” din colecţiile Muzeului Judeţean de Istorie şi Arheologie Prahova

  • Florin Topoleanu (Author)

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The Firmalampen Type of Lamps in the Prahova Museum of History and Archeology

The Museum of History and Archaeology in Ploieşti has an important collection of lamps, remarkable for its typological and chronological diversity. Unfortunately, just a small part of the about 150 lamps benefits from information regarding discovery terms and places, most of them been acquired from private persons at a time when the Museum of Ploieşti had organised its permanent exhibitions. A unitary group of twenty lamps belonging to the Firmalampen type stands out among the others. The popularity of their shape in the whole Roman world over more than three centuries, the quality and prestige of North Italic signatures turned them into models copied and imitated in local and provincial workshops. In the absence of any data regarding their provenance, the only possibility of a stylistic, iconographical and chronological interpretation of this group of lamps in the Ploieşti collection remains the comparative method, on the basis of analogies. Starting from the premise that, in most cases, the lamps were discovered by or acquired from their first owners on the territory of Romania, we have paid a greater attention to the Romanian specialized literature, which was statistically completed and reassessed with new artefacts. The name of the workshop’s owner is still preserved on sixteen lamps, while the other four have no such feature. Most of them, nineteen pieces in all, belong to type X (Loeschcke and Buchi), variant a and b, and only one to the type IXa. Of the ten different types of marks on the lamps under discussion, eight are of North Italic origin: CAMPILI (1 lamp, cat. no. 2), CASSI (2 lamps, cat. no. 3 and 4), FORTIS (4 lamps, cat. no. 6–9), IANUARI (2 lamps, cat. no. 10 and 11), LVCIVS (1 lamp, cat. no. 12), NERI (1 lamp, cat. no. 13), OCTAVI (2 lamps, cat. no. 14 and 15) and PROCLI (1 lamp, cat. no. 16). We must observe that FORTIS, the most common mark stamped on the Firmalampen type, is present on four of the above-mentioned lamps, thus confirming its popularity inside the Empire. Beside the marks already presented, there are also products of the local workshops of Dacia and of Moesia Inferior: ARMENI (1 lamp, cat. no. 1) and FLAVI (1 lamp, cat. no. 5). The signature IANUARI may be added to the same category, because its writing is quite different from the Italic prototype, so we may regard it as a local product. Among the lamps without a signature, worth pointing out is the one quite large in size (cat. no. 18), the lamp with three rostra (cat. no. 19) and the only lamp belonging to the type Loeschcke IX (cat. no. 20), which seems to be a provincial import, possibly from the German area. The lamps from Apulum and from Ulpia Traiana Sarmizegetusa (both in Dacia), and from Durostorum (Moesia Inferior) appear to represent local workshops that used to produce imitations of Italic prototypes or marks with limited circulation. The general chronological range is between the beginning of the 2nd century A.D. and the middle of the 3rd century A.D. Only four lamps could surely be dated by the archaeological context of discoveries between 101/102–117/118 A.D., the time the Roman camp from Drajna de Sus, Prahova County was in existence.

Cuvinte-cheie: Opaiţe „Firmalampen”, colecţia Muzeului de Istorie şi Arheologie din Ploieşti, tipologie, provenienţă, catalog

Keywords: „Firmalampen” lamps, History and Archaeoly Museum from Ploieşti collection, typology, provenance, catalogue