Nov 8, 2005
Nov 8, 2005

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


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.

See also

Contact us

The information about this object, including provenance, may not be currently accurate. If you notice a mistake or have additional information about this object, please email [email protected].

To request more information about this object, study images, or bibliography, contact the Ingalls Library Reference Desk.

All images and data available through Open Access can be downloaded for free. For images not available through Open Access, a detail image, or any image with a color bar, request a digital file from Image Services.