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Augen (Eye) Fibulae Group

The Augen Fibulae Group is a group of Germanic-origin spring bow fibulae that soon spread to Roman military use.  The name Auguen, "eye" in German, derives from the eye-hole decoration at the head of the early Augen fibulae.  These eye holes eventually became engraved eyes and then disappeared completely, though even the late eye-less fibulae of this group are referred to as Augen fibulae.  They early Augen fibulae appear to originate in the territory of the Hermunduri Germans in the Saale basin. (The Saale is a southwestern tributary of the Elbe River.  It starts in northeastern Bavaria and flows north to meet the Elbe to the west of Leipzig.) They were a Germanic imitation of the Roman Aucissa type, but were later adopted by the Romans themselves.

Sub-types include:
Early Augen Fibula - Roman bow fibula, pair of "eyes' in head, either holes or punched circles, small rectangular head, two facet bow, ornamental "knot" on bow
Late Augen Fibula - Roman bow fibula, same form as the early Augen Fibula but without the eyes.
Knick Fibula Type A - Roman bow fibula, simplified Augen form, no eyes, narrower short bow, often diamond section bow, distinct knot, a long narrow foot.
Knick Fibula Type B - Roman bow fibula, simplified Augen form, no eyes, generally smaller than type A, bow and foot are roughly equal length and are wider and flatter than the Type A, knot is not as distinct.
Koten Fibula -

Early Augen Fibulae

Typology: fibula, bow fibula, Germanic fibula, Roman bow fibula

References:  Hull 40a (eye holes) and 40b (engraved eyes); Riha 2.3.1; Ettlinger 17; Hofheim IIa; Genceva 39a; Almgren group III, pl. 3, 44 - 57 (plate below)

Dates:  c. AD 1 - 80.  Flourished AD 10 - 50.

Distribution:  Along the Rhine and upper Danube Limes, especially in Roman camps.

Notes:  Pair of eyes, either holes or engraved or punched circles, at the head.

Late Augen Fibulae

Almgren pl. 1, 20

Typology: fibula, bow fibula, Augen fibula

References:  Almgren 20; Böhme 5; Hull 40c; Ettlinger 17; Genceva 39b

Dates:  c. AD 50 - 120.  Flourished AD 50 - 80.

Notes:  No eye decoration.  Instead there is a small plate-like widening at the head.

Knick Fibulae

Knick fibulae are a derivative of the Augen type and are simpler in form.  They may in fact pre-date the early Augen type.   They have no eye decoration and have a narrower bow.  They comprise two sub-types based on the form of the bow and how distinctive the knot, or bulge, mid-way along the bow is.

Knick Fibulae with Distinct Knot

Almgren pl. 1, 19

Typology: fibula, bow fibula, Roman bow fibula, Augen fibula

References:  Almgren 19; Hofheim Ia; Van Buchem 15a; Böhme 3; Ettlinger 18; Riha 2.6; Hull 41

Dates:  c. 10 BC - AD 50/70

Distribution:  Rhine Limes. Used by the Roman military.

Notes:  Has a short, often diamond section, bow, a long narrow foot, and a distinct knot.

Knick Fibulae with Soft Knot

Almgren pl. 1, 20

Typology: fibula, bow fibula, Roman bow fibula, Augen fibula

References:  Almgren 20; Hofheim Ib; Van Buchem 15b; Böhme 4; Riha 2.7; Hull 43

Dates:  c.  AD 10/20 - 80, some in use up to AD 100.

Distribution:  Rhine Limes

Notes:  The bow and foot are roughly even in length and are a bit wider and flatter than the Type A.  Examples are generally smaller than the Type A and the knot is not as distinct.


Almgren, O. Studien über nordeuropäische Fibelformen. (Liepzig, 1923). PDF
Bohme, A. "Die Fibeln der Kastelle Saalburg und Zugmantel" in Saalburg Jahrbuch, XXIX. (1973).
Bojoviae, D. Rimske Fibule Singidunuma. Muzej Grada Bograda Serija - Zbirke i Legati Katalog XII. (Beograd, 1983).
Ettlinger, E. Die rimischen Fibeln in der Schweiz. (Bern, 1973).
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
Hull, M. "The Brooches at Bagendon" in E. Clifford, Bagendon, a Belgic Oppidum (1961). pp. 167 ff.
Riha, E. Die römischen Fibeln aus Augst und Kaiseraugst. (1979). PDF
Ritterling, E. Das Frührömische Lager bei Hofheim im Taunus. (Wiesbaden, 1913).
Van Buchem, H. De Fibulae Van Nijmegen. (Nijmegen, 1941). PDF


Almgren, plate III