Courtesy Archaeological Exploration of Sardis

Marred by hate, the bronze lion lamp, lit by placing oil and a wick in the cockleshell-shaped reservoir the lion holds in his mouth, has a rough patch on its back where the image of the goddess Cybele probably once rode. Many similar statues, depicting the earth-mother goddess astride a lion, can be found in the seven volumes of Cybele cult objects published by Maarten J. Vermaseren. Since her cult was popular at Sardis and a major rival to Christianity, Cybele’s likeness was probably removed from the lion lamp so that the Christian owner could still use it.