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The Age of Gallienus
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Penannular Fibulae

This family includes penannular fibulae, ring fibulae and omega fibulae.  The are usually divided according to the style or design of their terminals or ends.

Penannular Fibulae


Notes:  These penannular fibulae end in small coils.

Image: The body of this fibula has been twisted into a rope-like form. The ends are curled up or coiled.

Image:  A large Penannular fibula, with rectangular cross-section, 35x36mm, 6,19g. (Quadrans Collection)


Typology: BŲhme 51b; Genceva 35

Dates: AD 100 - 400. Flourished AD 350 - 400. According to other sources AD 275 - 400.

Distribution: Britain, Raetia, eastern Europe

Notes: The ends of these pennannular fibulae are folded over.

Image:  Penannular fibula. 25x27mm, 3,69g. (Quadrans Collection)


These penannular fibulae end in knobs.

Image:  Penannular fibula with spherical knobs.  These knobs have a twisted ridge design. 29x29mm, 5,01g. (Quadrans Collection.)

Image: Drawing of a penannular fibula with faceted cuboid end knobs. The fibula is late-Viking or early Medieval Rus. The image is from Korzukhina, G.F. Russian Treasures IX to XIIIth Centuries. USSR Academy of Sciences, Moscow (1954).

Zoomorphic Terminal

These penannular fibulae end in stylized animal heads.

Sub-Penannular Fibulae

These fibulae are derived from the penannular fibulae but incorporate other elements.

Penannular with Extension

Typology: Ring fibulae.  Instead of the terminals on penannular fibulae these fibulae have a squarish extension, often decorated, which serves as the pin-rest.

Dates: c. AD 250 - 350

Distribution: possibly Danubian origin, found throughout the Roman Empire.

Notes: The large penannular fibulae have a rectangular extension where the pin ends. According to some sources these might actually be large buckles.

Image:  Penannular fibula with extension with two kidney-shaped "eyes", the pin is missing, 63,5x56,5mm, 30,96g. (Quadrans Collection.)

Omega Fibulae

Typology: Genceva 34

Dates: 500 BC - AD 400. Especially prevalent 50 BC - AD 250 in Roman contexts, and AD 200 - 400 in Germanic contexts. Remained in use, especially in northern Europe, until the 11th century AD.

Distribution: Britain, Rhine, Germany, Iberia during the Roman era. Northern and northwestern Europe afterwards.

Notes: The ends of this sub-group of penannular fibulae are turned out, away from each other, giving the fibula the overall appearance of the Greek letter omega.

Image:  A Silver Omega fibula. 27,5x30mm, 3,64g. (Quadrans Collection)