A lovely example of a Roman crossbow brooch with original pin! 4th Century AD.
The fibula was an ancient brooch. Their function was not only decorative, they originally served a practical function, to fasten clothing such as cloaks.
Crossbow brooches were an international late Roman type, and worn by men, including, or perhaps especially, men in positions of authority. There is evidence that the finest and most valuable specimens were worn by individuals in the very highest echelons of society. Crossbow brooches are characterized by their weighty and imposing appearance, a bow that is markedly P-shaped in profile and onion terminals.
There is a famous ivory diptych, preserved in Monza, North Italy, which depicts Stilicho, the military ruler of the Western Empire under the Emporer Honorious, with his wife Serena and son Eucherios. Stilicho and Eucherios are both depicted with crossbow brooches of a specific and recognisable design fastening their cloaks on the right shoulder. These plaques would have been carved around 400 AD.
Condition: Complete and intact with good bronze. Original pin.
Dimensions: 6.5cm x 4.2cm
Provenance: Ex. private collection, UK.