Across the Roman Empire, a lamp was originally called a ‘lychnus’, from the Greek ‘λυχνος’, with the oldest Roman lamps dating back to the third century BC. During the Roman Empire, it became commonplace to use lamps in funeral ceremonies and for public purposes. Over time, the manufacture of lamps increased, and so did the variation in decoration, which depended mainly on the shape and size of the lamp. Common decorative themes depicted on the discus were entertainment scenes (such as gladiators in combat), common myths, and animals.
Serapis or ‘Sarapis’ was a Graeco-Egyptian god. The cult of Serapis was popularised during the 3rd century BC on the orders of Ptolemy I of Egypt, in order to unify the Greeks and Egyptians in his realm.