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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.

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

Roman, Millefiori Enameled Brooch, 2nd Century A.D.

|Fibulas| |&| |Clothing|, |Roman,| |Millefiori| |Enameled| |Brooch,| |2nd| |Century| |A.D.|
Probably made in the Rhineland but found in the Middle East.

Despite the corrosion and damage, this is a museum quality piece because of the superb quality of the original workmanship.
AS34494. cf. BnF Bronzes 1778, Hattatt ABOA 1600, Figure 75 (similar millefiori); 5 cm (2") long, symmetrical "equal ended" design, central raised rectangle, triangle ends, peripheral lugs, tiny millefiori enamelling with checkerboards, rosettes, stripes and concentric circles; corrosion, hole in side, pin missing, reassembled from two pieces; rare; 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).
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 Arheolo?ki Vestnik 60, 2009.
Mills, N. Celtic and Roman Artifacts. (Buxton Press, 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 Sunday, December 4, 2022.
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