The phalera was a decorative disc, used either to adorn the breastplate of a soldier or the harness of a horse. They were often impressively embellished, serving as a status symbol and mark of military achievement- a form of medal. The horse harnesses (to which these phalerae were attached) were made of organic materials, such as leather, and so do not survive.
Roman Military Openwork Phalera
A complete cast bronze military horse harness mount (phalera). The mount is circular in plan, with three stirrup-shape loops for attachment, and a decorative knob in place of a fourth. The mounts also features a central openwork panel of curvilinear design (reminiscent of La Tène style) exhibiting triple rotational symmetry. The pattern is centred around a small central disc and is framed within a thick outer border. Into this openwork design are incorporated a trio of double Celtic ‘trumpet curves’ (Trompetenmuster), which are considered to resemble plant-life, and to be based on the Greek Lotus motif.
Condition: Excellent condition, though one of the loops is slightly bent and coarse, with a small area of the bronze missing. The metal is stable and bears a dark green patina.