Fibulae or brooches were originally used in Ancient Greece and in the Roman Empire for fastening garments, such as cloaks or togae. The fibula designs developed into a variety of shapes, but all were based on the safety-pin principle. The Roman conquests resulted in a spread of Roman culture and therefore the use of the fibula, which became the basis for more complicated and highly decorated brooches, modelled in bronze, silver and gold and further enriched with precious and semi-precious gemstones. Fibulae are the most common artefact-type in burials and settlements throughout much of continental Europe. By the Middle Ages, the Roman safety pin type of fibula had fallen into disuse. Disc brooches began initially as flat, circular plate brooches, like this fine example. Their design and decoration became more complex as their popularity increased.
Romano-British Bronze Enamelled Disc Brooch
A finely cast Roman bronze disc brooch decorated with vibrant green, yellow and red enamel. The circular body features four peripheral lobes, perforated in the centre. They are intersected by four larger lobes, featuring a pale green enamel inlay. The central discoid body features a band of alternating yellow and red enamels, surrounding a riveted conical boss at its centre and framed by a border of incised small strokes. There is a hinge on the reverse, which would have held the original pin, and a triangular catch plate.
Provenance: Ex Cambridge collection, ex Gorny & Mosch Sale 231, 17th June 2015, lot 272 (part), ex Slg. D.K., acquired circa 1980s.
Condition: Fine condition with patination to the surface. Enamel still vibrant. Pin is now missing. One peripheral lobe chipped.