Art/ Collection/ Art Object

Piece from a Luxury Iron Dagger

ca. 600
Overall: 1 13/16 x 1 13/16 x 7/16in. (4.6 x 4.6 x 1.1cm)
Credit Line:
Purchase, 1895
Accession Number:
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 301
These pieces—grip terminal, mounts, scabbard chape, all in gold—are all that remain of a luxury dagger. The stamped designs of sea monsters and dolphins belong to Byzantine metalworking tradition and appear on other Langobardic objects from this period.

This group of objects was found in the grave of a Langobardic horseman, who was buried in his warrior dress, with weapons, shield, helmet, and the fittings for his horse. What remains are the many gold pieces that would have ornamented his clothing and equipment, and they attest to the great wealth of the Langobardic aristocracy within a generation of settling in Italy.
Found in Castel Trosino, central Italy.; Samuel T. Baxter, Florence (from at least 1876-1895)
Baxter, S.T. "On Some Lombardic Gold Ornaments Found at Chiusi." The Archaeological Journal 33 (1876). p. 106, pl. I, no. 1.

Catalogue of Etruscan jewellery with some Roman and Langobardic ornaments in the collection of S.T. Baxter. Florence: Claudian Press, 1886. no. 170b, p. 17.

Venturi, Adolfo. Storia dell'arte italiana: Volume 2, Dall'arte Barbarica alla Romanica. Milan: Ulrico Hoepli, 1902. p. 34, fig. 31, 47.

Åberg, Nils, and Ernst Alfred Meyer. Die Franken und Westgoten in der Völkerwanderungszeit. Arbeten utgifna med Understöd af Vilhelm Ekmans Universitetsfond, Vol. 28. Uppsala: A.-B. Akademiska Bokhandeln, 1922. p. 239, fig. 394.

Kuhn, Herbert. "Wichtige Langobardische Funde in Amerikanischen Sammlungen." Ipek 12 (1938). p. 180, pl. 61.

Åberg, Nils. The Occident and The Orient in the Art of the Seventh Century: Volume 1, The British Isles. Stockholm: Wahlström & Widstrand, 1943. pp. 86–87.

Nickel, Helmut. "About the Sword of the Huns and the 'Urepos' of the Steppes." Metropolitan Museum Journal 7 (1973). pp. 134–35, n. 6.

Delogu, Paolo. "Sulla Datazione di Alcuni oggetti in Metallo prezioso dei Sepolcreti Langobardi in Italia." In Atti del Convegno internazionale sul tema: La civiltà dei longobardi in Europa (Roma, 24-26 maggio 1971; Cividale del Friuli, 27-28 maggio 1971). Rome: Accademia Nazionale dei Lincei, 1974. fig. 2, pl. X.

Paroli, Lidia, ed. La necropoli altomedievale di Castel Trosino: Bizantini e Longobardi nelle Marche. Ascoli Piceno: Museo Archeologico Statale, 1995. pp. 18–19, ill. p. 18.

Vallet, Françoise. "Une Tombe de Riche Cavalier Lombard Découverte à Castel Trosino." In La Noblesse romaine et les chefs barbares du IIIe au VIIe siècle, edited by Michel Kazanski, and Françoise Vallet. Rouen: Musée des Antiquités Nationales, 1995. pp. 335–41, fig. 6.

Brown, Katharine R. "If Only the Dead Could Talk: An Update on the East German and Hunnish Jewelry Collections at the Metropolitan Museum of Art." In Ancient Jewelry and Archaeology, edited by Adriana Calinescu. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1996. pp. 224–34, fig. 2b, ill. p. 225.

Brown, Katharine R., Dafydd Kidd, and Charles T. Little, ed. From Attila to Charlemagne: Arts of the Early Medieval Period in the Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York and New Haven: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2000. p. 143, 338, fig. 13.5.

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