Roman Bronze Crossbow Fibula
Roman Bronze Crossbow Fibula
Later Roman Empire, c. 300AD.
Absolutely stunning Late Roman bronze crossbow fibula with a ridged crossbar decorated with two oblate spheres with central raised points, and a third onion-shaped terminal above the junction with the bow. The bow is embellished with vertical channels on the outer face. The rectangular footplate is decorated with two vertical channels and dots. The separately made pin is attached to the fibula by a hinge that is secured to a wire rod inserted through the crossbar, with D-shaped catchplate.
A fibula (plural fibulae) is a brooch or pin for fastening garments, typically at the right shoulder. The fibula developed in a variety of shapes, but all were based on the safety-pin principle. Unlike most modern brooches, fibulae were not only decorative; they originally served a practical function: to fasten clothing, such as cloaks and togas. In ancient Rome and other places where Latin was used, the same word denoted both a brooch and the fibula bone because a popular form for brooches and the shape of the bone were thought to resemble one another. Some fibulae were also sometimes used as votive gifts for gods. Crossbow fibulae were were used in the Roman world from the 300-600 AD. The characteristic fastners often embellished with onion-shaped knobs, may have been status symbols, as indicated by examples in gold and the famous relief of the fourth-century Roman general Stilicho in Mantua, where crossbow fibulae are clearly rendered on the shoulders of the general and his son.
Good condition. Wear consistent with age. Bends, surface scratches and light corrosion. Complete with hinged pin (moveable). Light encrustation. Beautiful light green patina. Size approx. 5,4cm x 3,7cm x 1,8cm.
Provenance: Dutch private collection
For a similar examples see:
Crossbow fibula, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Accession Number: 67.259.2 (https://www.metmuseum.org/art/collection/search/325947)
Crossbow fibula, Harvard Art Museums/Arthur M. Sackler Museum, Accession Number: 1992.256.107 (https://harvardartmuseums.org/collections/object/304550)
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