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Crossbow Fibula

Crossbow Fibula

c. 350-400

Bronze, gilt-bronze, silver, and niello

Overall: 10.2 x 7.1 x 3.8 cm (4 x 2 13/16 x 1 1/2 in.)

Purchase from the J. H. Wade Fund 1930.227

Description

A fibula was a garment clasp that functioned somewhat like a modern safety pin. Since buttons were not used in antiquity, fibulae were used to keep a cloak closed. They were worn by both men and women, commonly on the right shoulder, and produced in various sizes and shapes. Because they were highly visible accessories, they often received decorative gilding, inlay decoration, or onion-shaped domes. Crossbow fibulae were introduced by the Romans and are named for their resemblance to the weapon. Decorative and technical features suggest this may have been made in Roman-occupied Britain.

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