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Penannular fibulae are one of the three classes of fibulae; the other two classes are bow fibulae (class B) and plate fibulae (class C). Penannular fibula use a rotary fastener pin. Ring and omega brooches held the fabric
pieces together in a completely different way than the other fibulae closure
constructions. The cloth was pierced at the desired location. The needle
tip was passed between the ends of the ring. The ring was then rotated
90 degrees under the needle tip. The fabric pressed the needle on the hanger and kept the fibula closed.
Their are dozens of types and varieties of penannular fibulae,
but all are included in two penannular groups.
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: Böhme 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 penannular 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).
These penannular fibulae end in stylized animal heads.
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.)
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)