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 Silver-Gilt Knee Brooch
An unusual form of evolved knee brooch: it features a cylindrical crossbar, which is slotted to accept the pin; a trapezoid headplate; and a bow, which is pentagonal in section with onion-shaped knob. A rectangular catchplate curling at the bottom would have secured the (now missing) pin.
Condition: Excellent condition; some original gilding remains.