Lux Lucerna


About Lux Lucerna


It is always possible that someone reading these pages may be mildly curious about who, or what, Lux Lucerna may be.  With such a person in mind, I have provided this brief biography. 

What's in a name?
Lux Lucerna is, of course, Latin and loosely translated means lamplight.  You might wonder why I didn't just call the site lamplight.  If you're someone who has had the need to find a unique domain name for your website you may, like me, have found that many appropriate names have already been taken - in my case by sellers of light bulbs and lamp shades.  So, I had to choose something different and as we are talking about lights in ancient history, the Latin equivalent seemed a suitable solution.  Lux Lucerna also became the name of my publishing imprint when I found myself in the position of becoming a publisher in order to get my book on the market.


              The first of the lamps
              It all began back in 1989 when I went on a trip to Athens and returned inspired by Greek pottery.  Always having had a natural instinct to collect, I wondered whether such things could be bought in this country.  I scoured various papers (we didn't have the Internet back then) and found an advert in, of all places, The Exchange & Mart.  A selection of antiquities was advertised by a gentleman down in Christchurch who, for a couple of pounds, would supply periodic lists of items for sale.  Within the first list he sent me I found, amongst an eclectic mix of objects, a ‘Romano-Egyptian lamp, 1st century AD’.  Well, it wasn't really a black-figured Greek pot but I was realizing I may have been aiming too high with that one.  So, persuaded by my girlfriend (who seemed even more enthusiastic than myself), I sent off for the lamp.  That was the very first lamp in the collection.  Twenty-eight years and over 100 lamps later, my girlfriend, who is now my wife, thankfully remains if not enthusiastic then at least happily tolerant about my little obsession with lamps.




Lighting the Ancient World
Quite early on I was keen to find out more about pottery lamps.  Yet, almost without exception, books about lamps were catalogues of museum collections, which were fine for identifying lamps but any further information on matters of development, manufacture, etc. had to be teased out from their pages.  There seemed to be no single book that provided an overview on the subject of lamps.  I have had a little experience of writing so, tentatively at first, I started to write that book myself.  I put it down and picked it up again countless times over the years.  It came to be a bit like that famous analogy concerning the Forth Bridge; as soon as I had finished, something occurred to me that needed to be added or changed.  However, by 2017 I felt fairly comfortable that it was as good as I could make it.  Of course, a book of this nature is such a niche subject that it just isn't commercially viable to most publishing houses, so instead I took the decision to self-publish.  Consequently, Lighting the Ancient World was published under my own Lux Lucerna imprint in February 2018.  It is now available to any who, like myself, want to know just that little bit more about pottery lamps.




The first lamp.  Actually, not 1st cent. AD and probably not from Egypt either.

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