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Roman Bronze Lamps with Masks: Dionysos, Pantomime and Mediterranean Popular Culture

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The widely-distributed Roman bronze lamps that have a mask on the end of an arching handle, overlooking the body of the lamp, present some difficult problems of origin, chronology and interpretation. The article offers some suggestions but at the same time argues that we should not be looking for answers that may be over-simplistic. Among other points, people of differ- ent areas may have attributed different meanings to the mask – so too may individual owners – and while Pantomime seems to have been an underly- ing point of reference, individual lamps cannot be taken as evidence for local performance.


Document Type: Regular Paper


Publication date: December 1, 2012

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  • HEROM is an annual online journal presenting innovative contributions tothe study of material culture produced, exchanged, and consumed within the spheres of the Hellenistic kingdoms and the Roman world. The journal publishes papers in the full range of the scholarly field and in all relevant academic disciplines within the arts, humanities, social sciences and environmental sciences. herom creates a bridge between material culture specialists and the wider scientific community, with an interest in how humans interacted with and regarded artefacts from the late 4th century bc to the 7th century ad.

    The journal seeks to provide more visibility for studies of material culture in many ways which are not necessarily covered by existing scholarly journals or conference proceedings. herom studies material culture in its totality, with a view to clarifying the complex wider implications of such evidence for understanding a host of issues concerning the economy, society, daily life, politics, religion, history of the ancient world, among other aspects.
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