Sep 18, 2008
Sep 18, 2008

Crossbow Fibula

Crossbow Fibula

c. 350–400

Bronze, gilt-bronze, silver, and niello

Overall: 9.9 x 5.8 x 3.2 cm (3 7/8 x 2 5/16 x 1 1/4 in.)

Gift of Elie Borowski 1955.545


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 of this group suggest they may have been made in Roman-occupied Britain.

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