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Home ▸ Catalog ▸ |Antiquities| ▸ |Antiquities by Type| ▸ |Fibulas & Clothing||View Options:  |  |  | 

Ancient Fibulae and Clothing Items

A fibula (plural fibulae) is an ancient brooch. Technically, the Latin term, fibulae, refers to Roman brooches; however, the term is widely used to refer to brooches from the entire ancient and early medieval world that continue Roman forms. Fibulae were used to fasten clothing or, in some cases, purely for decoration. They followed the straight pin in evolution and were eventually replaced by buttons. They are perhaps most famous as the fastener on Roman military cloaks - the sagum and paludamentum. However, they were used centuries before Rome was founded and for centuries after it fell. They were used by Greeks, Persians, Phrygians, Celts, Germans, Slavs and many other peoples in addition to Romans. They were used by soldiers and civilians; by men, women and children. They can thus signify culture, tribe, sex, status or profession - though not always. They were used on robes, shirts and dresses as well as cloaks. One thing they were never used on was the toga, which was simply folded and draped and was not fixed by any pin.

Chernyakhov Culture (in Ukraine), Four Bronze Rhomboid Head Fibulae, c. 100 - 375 A.D.

|Fibulas| |&| |Clothing|, |Chernyakhov| |Culture| |(in| |Ukraine),| |Four| |Bronze| |Rhomboid| |Head| |Fibulae,| |c.| |100| |-| |375| |A.D.|
These Chernyakhov Culture fibulae were found in Ukraine. They are likely women's fibulae. In Chernyakhov Culture burials, most men do not wear a fibula (they wore trousers), women are most often wearing two fibulae, one on each shoulder.

The Chernyakhov culture flourished between the 2nd and the late 4th century A.D. in a wide area of Eastern Europe, specifically in what is now Ukraine, Romania, Moldova and parts of Belarus. The culture is thought to be the result of a multiethnic cultural mix of the Geto-Dacian (including Romanised Daco-Romans), Sarmatian, and Gothic populations. The Chernyakhov culture ended with the arrival of the Huns. Without the hierarchical Gothic political structure, cultural homogeneity succumbed to the ethnic distinctions between the disparate peoples.
AS96443. Lot of 4 Chernyakhov Culture (in Ukraine) bronze rhomboid head fibulae, Choice, green patinas, each missing the pin (the iron pins are usually lost due to rust), 29.7mm - 39.2mm long, c. 100 - 375 A.D.; $80.00 SALE PRICE $72.00

Roman, Bronze Crossbow Fibula, c. 4th - 5th Century

|Fibulas| |&| |Clothing|, |Roman,| |Bronze| |Crossbow| |Fibula,| |c.| |4th| |-| |5th| |Century|
AA31075. length 8.5 cm (3 1/4"), Superb, original pin, attractive geometric inscribed decoration; SOLD

Roman, Lion Plate Brooch, c. 2nd Century A.D.

|Fibulas| |&| |Clothing|, |Roman,| |Lion| |Plate| |Brooch,| |c.| |2nd| |Century| |A.D.|
Zoomorphic brooches were most popular in the 2nd century A.D.
AA40491. cf. Hattatt 1194 and 1195 (both lion brooches but not very similar); 4.2 x 2.8 cm, lion left, with head facing; complete and intact, hing pin frozen; SOLD

China, Han Dynasty, Five Bronze Belt Hooks, c. 206 B.C. - 220 A.D.

|East| |Asian| |Antiquities|, |China,| |Han| |Dynasty,| |Five| |Bronze| |Belt| |Hooks,| |c.| |206| |B.C.| |-| |220| |A.D.|
The Han Dynasty (206 BC - 220 A.D.) was an age of economic prosperity, with significant growth of the money economy, and advances in science and technology, including papermaking, the nautical steering rudder, the use of negative numbers in mathematics, the raised-relief map, the hydraulic-powered armillary sphere for astronomy, and a seismometer employing an inverted pendulum. The emperor was at the pinnacle of society but shared power with the nobility and appointed ministers who came largely from the scholarly gentry. From the reign of Emperor Wu, the court sponsored Confucianism, a policy that endured until the fall of the Qing Dynasty in 1911 A.D.
AS59780. Han Dynasty belt hooks, largest 2.6 inches, a couple with chips; from a New Jersey collection, SOLD



Allason-Jones, L. (ed.). Artefacts in Roman Britain: Their Purpose and Use. (Cambridge, 2011).
Bayley, J. & S. Butcher. Roman Brooches in Britain: A Technological and Typological Study based on the Richborough Collection. (London, 2004).
Binding, U. Band 16: Studien zu den figrlichen Fibeln der Frhlatenzeit. (Bonn, 1993).
Blinkenberg, C. Fibules grecques et orientales. (Kobenhavn, 1926).
Bojoviae, D. Rimske Fibule Singidunuma. Muzej Grada Bograda Serija - Zbirke i Legati Katalog XII. (Beograd, 1983). Davidson, G. Corinth XII : The Minor Objects. The American School of Classical Studies at Athens. (Princeton, 1952).
Deppert-Lippitz, B. "A Late Antique Crossbow Fibula in the Metropolitan Museum of Arts" in Metropolitan Museum Journal 35, 2010.
Egan, G. & F. Pritchard. Dress Accessories: 1150-1450 AD. (Boydell, 2002).
Ettlinger, E. Die rmischen Fibeln in der Schweiz. (Bern, 1973).
Feugere, M. Les fibules en Gaule meridionale de la conquite a la fin du Ve sicle apres J.-C. (Paris, 1985).
Hattatt, R. A Visual catalogue of Richard Hattatt's Ancient Brooches. (Oxford, 2000).
Hattatt, R. Ancient Brooches and Other Artifacts. (Oxford, 1989).
Hattatt, R. Ancient and Romano-British Brooches. (Dorset, 1982).
Hattatt, R. Brooches of Antiquity. (Oxford, 1987).
Hattatt, R. Iron Age and Roman Brooches. (Oxford, 1985).
Lafli, E. (ed.). Greek, Roman, and Byzantine Bronzes from Anatolia and Neighbouring Regions. Bar 3038. (Oxford, 2021).
Mackreth, D. Brooches in Late Iron Age and Roman Britain. (Oxford, 2011).
Milavec, T. "Crossbow fibulae of the 5th and 6th centuries in the southeastern Alps" in Arheoloski Vestnik 60, 2009.
Mills, N. Celtic and Roman Artifacts. (Derbyshire, 2000).
Riha, E. Die rmischen Fibeln aus Augst und Kaiseraugst. (1979).
Riha, E. Die rmischen Fibeln aus Augst und Kaiseraugst Die Neufunde seit 1975. (1994).
Shopland, N. Archaeological Finds: A Guide to Identification. (Tempus, 2005).
Swift, E. "Personal Ornaments" in Allason-Jones, Lindsay (ed.). Artefacts in Roman Britain: Their Purpose and Use. (Cambridge, 2011).

See Fibula in NumisWiki for additional references.

Catalog current as of Friday, September 29, 2023.
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