Antiquity is the period during which the art of writing first developed. It followed after prehistory, which comprises a long time span marked by man acquiring the knowledge of how to use and handle fire.
Antiquity is by all means a pivotal period, as documented history commences at this point. Around 3000 BC, cuneiform writing was first invented in the earliest known civilization, the Sumer empire. Antiquity ended when the last Western Roman emperor was deposed in 476 AD.

Shown below are 76 examples of tallow lamps and oil lamps from the age of Antiquity. Click on each lamp to enlarge the picture.