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Roman gold silver and bronze fibula


Material  Bronze/Copper Alloy & Gold plating
Dimensions 4.7 cm long x 2.9 cm wide x 1.5 cm High
Roman Empire Mid 4th Century AD

Bronze Crossbow Fibula with the remnants of a gold plating that once covered the entire piece.  The catch plate area has a central raised ridge while twp perpendicular ridges extend upwards from it.  The beginning of the arch where it is connected to the catch plate has an horizontal stacked set of ridges before the traditional wide arch extends out over what is left of the original bronze pin. 

The front portion of the fibula has the typical rounded bulbed ends.  The front bulb is not welded to the rest of the Fibula, but is attached with a split rivet that holds it to the arch.  The cross bar also has one raised decorative ridge, also quite common on these types of fibulas.  Much of the fibula still has the gold plating on it, and at one time it would have covered the entire piece. 

This fibula is unusual in that it appears to be made of a different material, at least the shell is.  Instead of a typical green oxidation of the bronze, it is instead a sold dark brown.  From one of the side views you can see how there is a open area where the interior is filled with green oxidation.  This indicates that the core of the Fibula is bronze, while the exterior is not.  Also at the bulbed ends you can see a green dot which appears to lead to a hollow interior.  This bronze wire seems to act as the pivot point for the pin in the center.

This fibula is about the same size as the other highly decorative Fibula and is a bit smaller than the other gold plated Fibula.

The term "Crossbow Fibula" is believed to be a modern term describing the shape when viewed from the top, a Cross or Crossbow.  A Fibula was used to hold together the Toga/clothing of the Roman Soldier and Citizen. The arch would have been where the fabric bunched while the pin secured it.  This would have belonged to someone of higher status than the average Roman since it was plated in gold. (1)

Click on Pictures for higher resolution

Front View

Bottom View

Rear Closeup View

Pin close up View

Rivet View

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(1) References to similar items: FEUGERE, Michel; Weapons of the Romans, page 118 2002

**Note on background. Close up view of the wall of the Colosseum of Pula, Croatia. Picture taken 2014