Ancient Roman Bone Hair Pin


An Ancient Roman hair pin made of bone, with ribbed collar and bearded male bust, possibly of Jupiter (Zeus to the Greeks) wearing a solar crown. The surface is smooth and the colour is coppery brown, becoming lighter towards the tip. The shaft is cylindrical and tapers to a point for easy insertion into the hair.

Date: 1st-2nd century AD
Provenance: Property of a North London gentleman; previously in a private collection formed in the 1990s.
Condition: Fine condition.

In stock

SKU: AH-558 Category: Tag:

Roman bone pins could have functioned as either hair pins or dress pins. They have been found alongside both the skull and the body in graves, and have been interpreted for securing hair, garments and possible bags. This pin was probably used to facilitate the elaborate female hairstyles of the period. The hair would have to be twisted and coiled, to prevent the smooth pin from falling out. Examples of hair pins have been found in a wide array of materials, such as bone, bronze, glass, and stone. Most were decorative in design, occasionally boasting ornate figurative heads in the shape of animals, plants, or people.

Jupiter is the Roman equivalent of Zeus, who is the king of the gods and associated with thunder, lightning, and storms. The ancient Romans believed that they were predominantly watched over a triad of gods, comprising Mars, the god of war; Quirinus, the god of Roman state; and Jupiter, the supreme god. By the time of Roman Republic, Mars and Quirinus had been replaced by Juno and Minerva. Jupiter was well known for his countless affairs committed against his wife Hera (Juno) which formed the central plot for most Grecco-Roman myths. His presence on everyday objects is ubiquitous in the Roman times and functioned for protection.

To find out more about Roman gods, please visit our relevant blog posts: Roman Gods in Mythology.

Weight 5.9 g
Dimensions L 13.7 cm
Roman Mythology




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