In the cultures of ancient Greece and Rome, fibulae (or brooches) were originally used for fastening garments. They came in a variety of shapes, but all were based on the safety pin principle. The Etruscans were very fond of fibulae, some of which were very large and decorated with elaborate granulation and processions of animals in relief. Roman conquests spread the use of the fibula, which became the basis for more complicated brooches. By the Middle Ages, the Roman safety pin type of fibula had fallen into disuse.
Roman Gilded Silver Crossbow Brooch
A Roman crossbow fibula in gilded silver. It has a hexagonal-section hollow crossbar; deep D-section bow, with ribbed lower end and three projecting beads for decoration; and a hollow rectangular footplate with chamfered sides, to house the catch mechanism. The fibula also features a hinged pin.
Provenance: From an important European private collection; acquired in the early 1990s.
Condition: Fine condition.