) was originally a
candlestick, but was afterwards used to support lamps (whence also called
), in which signification it most
commonly occurs. The candelabra of this kind were usually made to stand upon
the ground, and were of a considerable height. The most common kind were
made of wood (Cic. ad Q. Fr.
; Mart. 14.44
; Petron. 95; Athen. 15.700
); but those which
have been found in Herculaneum and Pompeii are mostly of bronze. Sometimes
they were made of the more precious metals (silver, Dig.
, tit. 2, s. 19.8) and adorned with jewels, as was the one
which Antiochus intended to dedicate to Jupiter Capitolinus (Cic. Ver. 4.28, 64
; cf. ib. 2.74, 183,
“candelabra aenea,” and 4.26, 60). In the temples of the
gods and palaces there were frequently large candelabra made of marble, and
fastened to the ground.
Marble Candelabrum in the Vatican. (Visconti, vol. iv., tav.
There is a great resemblance in the general plan and appearance of most of
the candelabra which have been found. They usually consist of three
parts:--(1) the foot (βάσις
); (2) the shaft
or stem (καυλός
); (3) the plinth or tray
), large enough for a lamp to
stand on, or with a socket to receive a wax candle. The foot usually
consists of three lions' or griffins' feet, ornamented with leaves; and the
shaft, which is either plain or fluted, generally ends in a kind of capital,
on which the tray rests for supporting the lamp. Sometimes we find a figure
between the capital and the tray, as is seen in the candelabrum on the right
hand in the annexed woodcut, which is taken from the Museo
(iv. pl. 57), and represents a candelabrum found in
Pompeii. The one on the left hand is also a representation of a candelabrum
the same city (Mus. Borb.
vi. pl. 61), and is made
with a sliding shaft, by which the light might be raised or lowered at
The best candelabra were made at Aegina and Tarentum (Plin. Nat. 34.11
). There were also
Corinthian candelabra (Mart. 14.43
Etruscan bronze candelabra were celebrated in antiquity, and are mentioned
even in the time of Pericles by the Athenian poet Pherecrates (Athen. 15.700
There was another kind of candelabrum, entirely different from those which
have been described, which did not stand upon the ground, but was placed
upon the table. Such candelabra sometimes consist of a figure supporting a
lamp (Mus. Borb.
vii. pl. 15), or of a figure, by the side of
which the shaft is placed with two branches, each of which terminates in a
flat disc, [p. 1.353]
upon which a lamp was placed. A
candelabrum of the latter kind is given in the annexed drawing
Etruscan Candelabrum. (Dennis, Etruria, i. p. lxxv.)
iv. pl. 59). The stem is formed of a liliaceous
plant; and at the base is a mass
Candelabrum from Pompeii.
of bronze, on which a Silenus is seated, engaged in trying to pour
wine from a skin which he holds in his left hand, into a cup in his right.
) describes candelabra
“aedicularum sustinentia figuras.” Sometimes the candelabra
consist of pillars, from the capitals of which several lamps hang down, or
of trees, from whose branches lamps also are suspended. The following
woodcut represents a very elegant candelabrum of this kind, found in
Pompeii. (Mus. Borb.
ii. pl. 13.)
Candelabrum from Pompeii.
The original, including the stand, is three feet high. The pillar is not
placed in the centre, but at one end of the plinth, which is the case in
almost every candelabrum of this description yet found. The plinth is inlaid
in imitation of a vine, the leaves of which are of silver, the stem and
fruit of bright bronze. On one side is an altar with wood and fire upon it;
and on the other a Bacchus riding on a tiger. The candelabrarii,
or makers of candelabra, are mentioned in
inscriptions (Orelli, Inscr.
ii. p. 398 seq.