Roman Silver Crossbow Brooch with Inscription


A fine Roman silver crossbow brooch featuring a semi-circle arched bow and short, flattened foot. The cross-bar is adorned with three small bronze knobs, one at either end and a final knob brought forward from the cross-bar and applied to the bow. Incised horizontal etchings are displayed across the bow and foot. Across the sides of the brooch is ‘VIVAS CONCORD’ which translates in Latin to live in harmony. The hinged pin, still complete, sits on the other side of the pin catch, now fixed in place.

Date: Circa 3nd-4th century AD
Provenance: Ex Cambridgeshire private collection, 1990's-2000's.
Condition: Fine condition, patination visible to the surface.


SKU: LD-437 Category: Tags: ,

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. Roman conquests spread the use of the fibula, which became the basis for more complicated brooches. The crossbow design reached the height of its popularity both in Italy and the Western European provinces at a later stage in the Empire’s history. Worn almost exclusively by men, the crossbow brooch came to represent civil and military authority, with famous late Roman generals such as Stilicho having been depicted wearing crossbow fibulae. Simpler versions made with cheaper materials were then popularised by Roman soldiers, thus allowing for their spread into the provinces where they became a staple of Romano-Celtic fibula design.

Weight 8.9 g
Dimensions L 4.2 x W 3.4 cm



Reference: For a similar item,The British Museum, item 1924,0502.7

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