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Original scientific paper

Roman ceramic lamps with Fortis stamp from the Collection of the Museum of Slavonia Osijek

Zvonimir Marinović

Fulltext: croatian, pdf (2 MB) pages 79-111 downloads: 597* cite
APA 6th Edition
Marinović, Z. (2009). Rimske keramičke svjetiljke s pečatom Fortis iz Zbirke Muzeja Slavonije Osijek. Osječki zbornik, Vol. 29 (xx), 79-111. Retrieved from
MLA 8th Edition
Marinović, Zvonimir. "Rimske keramičke svjetiljke s pečatom Fortis iz Zbirke Muzeja Slavonije Osijek." Osječki zbornik, vol. Vol. 29, no. xx, 2009, pp. 79-111. Accessed 22 Oct. 2021.
Chicago 17th Edition
Marinović, Zvonimir. "Rimske keramičke svjetiljke s pečatom Fortis iz Zbirke Muzeja Slavonije Osijek." Osječki zbornik Vol. 29, no. xx (2009): 79-111.
Marinović, Z. (2009). 'Rimske keramičke svjetiljke s pečatom Fortis iz Zbirke Muzeja Slavonije Osijek', Osječki zbornik, Vol. 29(xx), pp. 79-111. Available at: (Accessed 22 October 2021)
Marinović Z. Rimske keramičke svjetiljke s pečatom Fortis iz Zbirke Muzeja Slavonije Osijek. Osječki zbornik [Internet]. 2009 [cited 2021 October 22];Vol. 29(xx):79-111. Available from:
Z. Marinović, "Rimske keramičke svjetiljke s pečatom Fortis iz Zbirke Muzeja Slavonije Osijek", Osječki zbornik, vol.Vol. 29, no. xx, pp. 79-111, 2009. [Online]. Available: [Accessed: 22 October 2021]

Since the lamps carrying Fortis stamp make the most
numerous group among Roman ceramic lamps in the Museum
of Slavonia they are worthy of our attention. The paper
deals only with lamps that entered the inventory collected
in the course of the 19th and 20th centuries. All of them
originate from the area of Osijek although for some of them
the exact site cannot be determined. The lamp collection
numbers over 730 intact lamps and lamp fragments. The
majority are the lamps with a stamp (605). Out of this number
326 lamps carry a legible stamp and for 113 lamps the
stamp cannot clearly be determined. Fortis is the stamp that
dominates in 51 lamps. The lamp type has been determined
according to the typology made by D. Ivanyi for Pannonian
lamps. The Munsell soil colour charts have been used
in order to determine the colours. Terminology was used
according to the sample of the terminology applied by B.
Vikić-Belančić. The issues of import and local production
have not been dealt with in this paper since these would
make the topic of my further research which shall hopefully
include data from the recent research.
The Fortis handicrafts-man workshop (L. Aemilius
Fortis) was active around Modena (Savignano sul Panaro)
from the mid 1st to the 2nd centuries. All three types of
factory lamps (Firmenlampen) carry Fortis stamp counting
among the handicrafts-men of older generation. The handicrafts-
man Fortis was known as the most productive lamp
maker and the greatest exporter. This might have been the
reason that potters had put his stamp on their products in
order to earn more. His lamps were to be found almost in
all provinces of the Empire. There was a lamp production
in Mursa as well, which is obvious from numerous moulds
that the collection holds and among these are two moulds
for lamps with the Fortis stamp.
The lamps in this paper are categorised as Ivanyi XVII
type except one that is the Ivanyi XV type. The majority
carry only stamps (catalogue nr. 1, 2, 3, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11,
14, 19, 20 21, 22, 24, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 32, 33, 35, 36, 37,
38, 39, 41, 44, 45, 46, 47, 48, 49) and they differ in quality
of the production. Thus catalogue nr. 11, 34, 41 stand out
for their quality whereas some lamps are of poorer quality
i.e. they lack symmetry (catalogue nr. 7 and 8).
Three lamps depicting humorous masks on a disc
stand out for their decoration (catalogue nr. 16, 31 and 36).
B. Vikić-Belančić dates back the lamps with humorous masks
to the second half of the 1st and the 2nd centuries. The
Lamp of Ivanyi XV type (catalogue nr. 36 dates back to the
second half of the 1st century, primarily for its type that in
later periods did not exist. Two lamps of Ivanyi XVII type
(catalogue nr. 31 and 36) may date back to the 2nd century.
All other decorations refer to the stamp on the lamp bottom.
The first class quality samples with a quite regular and plastic
stamp and a wreath and palm twig or just a wreath underneath
date back to the flourishing period of the Fortis
workshop (in the 1st century). Wreath motif with a palm
twig can be seen on fragments nr. 25, 40 and 43 and probably
on nr. 42 as well. Samples that carry concentric circles,
so J. Istenič, have been attributed to import dating back to
the first third of the 2nd century. Related to these is Fortis
stamp with one leaf over and under it (catalogue nr. 18) that
may date back to the second half of the 1st and early 2nd
centuries. Stamps with a small concentric circle either above
(catalogue nr. 4, 12, 13, 23) or under (catalogue nr. 34)
the stamp are also numerous. According to the find from
Sisak they can be dated back to the 2nd century. Among
decorations there is a stamp with a twig (catalogue nr. 17).
A number of lamps have been completely burnt out
(catalogue nr. 15, 20, 24, 27, 28, 29, 37, 47) whereas a part
of them have burning marks on the surface (catalogue nr.
21, 23, 36) or the nose, which indicates that lamps had been
used (catalogue nr. 1, 2, 4, 5, 12, 23, 32, 48).
The lamps with Fortis stamp certainly fit into the image
of historical development of Mursa. Imported lamps dating
from an earlier period are scarce. Seven lamps can date
back to the period of the second half of the 1st and the early
2nd centuries. There is only one lamp of different type but
despite that very similar to other lamps and it can be dated
back to the second half of the 1st century. This would be
the period of formation and development of Roman settlements.
There are six samples limited to the period of the
2nd century, which would comprise the period of the first
development. They mostly (38 items) belong to a very long
period of the 2nd and 3rd centuries, which is at the same
time the development peak of Mursa. None of the lamps
that have been described here would be dated back to the
later period (4th century). This is obvious since in the 4th
century they disappear and they appear in a very degraded form, mostly without any marks. They gradually give place
to other lamp types. A number of lamps have burning marks,
which indicates their application but such data comprise
only intact or mainly preserved lamps. As for the quality of
making is is noted that lamps of average quality prevail,
which can be presumed to have been made in Mursa or
in one of the centers throughout Pannonia. Ceramic production
existed in Mursa but this issue has not been dealt
with and in particular not the ceramic lamp production itself.
The knowledge of mould import and the local mould
making needs to be intensified, as well.
In spite of scarce data on finds and their insufficient
typological processing it can be concluded that factory
lamps (Firmenlampen ) carrying Fortis stamp marked the
period of the greatest flourishing of Mursa starting from the
2nd until the 4th centuries.

Hrčak ID: 95593



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