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Roman Bow Fibulae

The Romans adopted bow fibulae from the Celts in the late Republican period - likely in the mid-1st c BC - and used them until the fall of the Western Roman Empire.

Early bow fibulae were made from one piece of bronze. The entire fibula from the catch, to the bow, to the spring, to the tip of the pin was created by shaping and bending a single piece of bronze with great expertise and skill. One-piece construction was rapidly replaced by the much easier to manufacture two-piece construction in the middle of the 1st century A.D.

Roman Bow Fibulae can be divided into several main groups based on origin construction, and the form of the bow.

Alesia Fibulae

Alesia Fibula - Roman bow fibula, hinged, bow is wider at the head tapering to a point at the foot (a narrow triangle), plain or with molded or incised decoration in low relief.
Alesia Fibula with Perforated Bow - Roman bow fibula, Alesia fibula sub type, bow is divided lengthwise with a gap in the center.
Alesia Fibule with Segmented (H-shaped) Bow - Roman bow fibula, Alesia fibula sub type, the bow is not triangular, it has an H or an I-beam shape.
Alesia Fibule with Roundel/Cup on Bow - Roman bow fibula, Alesia fibula sub type, flat rectangular bow with a concave rondel or cup in the middle of the bow (rare).
Alesia Fibule with Oval Foot- Roman bow fibula, Alesia fibula sub type, foot in the form of a wide oval (rare).
Alesia Fibule with Bow with Pair of Perforated Ovals - Roman bow fibula, Alesia fibula sub type, wide bow with two large oval perforations (rare).
Alesia Fibula with Small Narrow Bow - Roman bow fibula, Alesia fibula sub type, small narrow bow
Alesia Fibula with Low-Arch Bow with Square Section - Roman bow fibula, Alesia fibula sub type, with a low-arched bow with square section
Alesia Fibula with Simple Round-Section Bow - Roman bow fibula, Alesia fibula sub type, with simple round section bow

Aucissa Fibulae

Aucissa Fibula - Roman bow fibula, hinged, plate at the head, flat ribbon bow.
Bagendon Fibula - Roman bow fibula, Aucissa fibula sub-type with knobs on the sides of the bow.
Two-Pin Aucissa Fibula - Roman bow fibula, Aucissa fibula sub-type with two pins, one on each side of the bow.
Wolf Fibula - Roman bow fibula, Aucissa fibula sub-type, the foot is decorated with the appearance of a wolf's head.
Dacian Molded Fibula - Roman bow fibula, Aucissa fibula sub-type, ridges on the bow.
Hrusica Fibula - Roman bow fibula, Aucissa fibula sub-type, knobs on each side of the head, and at the end of the foot (similar crossbow fibula knobs, but ignore the knobs and it is clearly an Aucissa type).

Augen Fibulae

Dolphin Fibulae (Gallo-British)

Hod Hill Fibulae

Kraftig Profilierte (Highly Profiled) Fibulae

Knee Fibula

La Tene Derivative Fibulae

Crossbow Fibulae

Other Types of Roman Bow Fibulae

Pincer Fibulae (Zangenfibel)
Typology:Genceva 36
Dates:c. AD 175 - 200/250.
Distribution:Origin in north Italy.Found in small numbers throughout Empire.
Notes:Very similar fibulae were also in 4th c BC Greece.

Two-Part Fibula with External chord and Tall Catch
Typology:Parducova type
Dates:AD 180 - 260/270
Distribution:Possibly originated in the Carpathian Basin.Widely associated with Sarmatian graves. Found in Upper Moesia, Hungary, Slovakia, Romania and southern Russia.
Notes:This medium-long bow fibula has a small triangular head-plate over the small spring (four winds), a triangular cross-section bow with fairly high arch, a short foot with knob and a high catch. Preceded the Kovrig 45 type.


Almgren, O. Studien über nordeuropäische Fibelformen. (Liepzig, 1923). PDF
Bojovic, Dragoljub. Rimske Fibule Singidunuma. Muzej Grada Beograda Serija - Zbirke i Legati Katalog XII. (Belgrade, 1983).
Cocis, S. "Strongly profiled brooches with trapezium form foot in the Roman Province of Dacia" in Emphemeris Napocensis V, 1995.
Garbsch, J. "Die norisch-pannonische Frauentracht im 1. und 2. Jahrhundert" in MBV 11 (Munich, 1965).
Genceva, E. Les Fibules Romaines de Bulgarie de la fin du 1er s. av. J.-C. à la fin du VIe s. ap. J.-C. (Veliko Trnovo, 2004). PDF
Jobst, Werner. Die römischen Fibeln aus Lauriacum. (Linz, 1975).
Kovrig, I. Die Haupttypen der kaiserzeitlichen Fibeln in Pannonien. (Budapest, 1937). PDF
Patek, E. Verbreitung und Herkunft der Römischen Fibeltypen von Pannonien. (Budapest, 1942).
Riha, E. Die römischen Fibeln aus Augst und Kaiseraugst. (1979). PDF
Schleiermachen, M. "Die Romischen Fibeln von Kempten-Cambodunum" in Cambodunumforschungen V. (Kallmunz, 1993).
Van Buchem, H. De Fibulae Van Nijmegen. (Nijmegen, 1941). PDF