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Gold crossbow fibula (brooch)

Period:
Late Imperial, Tetrarchic
Date:
ca. A.D. 286–306/7 or 308/9
Culture:
Roman
Medium:
Gold
Dimensions:
Length 5.4 cm.
Classification:
Gold and Silver
Credit Line:
Purchase by subscription, 1895
Accession Number:
95.15.113
  • Description

    This type of fibula, used to fasten a cloak around the neck, became part of the standard insignia of military personnel during the third century A.D. This example is inscribed in Latin on the bow: HERCVLI AVGVSTE SEMPER VINCAS (May you always be victorious, Hercules Augustus!); the titles probably refer to the tetrarch Maximian, who styled himself as Hercules. The brooch would have been made at an imperial workshop and presented as a gift to a senior member of the imperial staff.

  • Signatures, Inscriptions, and Markings

    Inscription: inscribed: "HERCVLI AVGVSTE SEMPER VINCAS'

  • References

    Weitzmann, Kurt. 1979. Age of Spirituality: Late Antique and Early Christian Art, Third to Seventh Century New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, no. 275, pp. 302-3.

    Metropolitan Museum of Art. 1987. Greece and Rome. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, no. 121, p. 154.

    Picón, Carlos A. 2007. Art of the Classical World in the Metropolitan Museum of Art: Greece, Cyprus, Etruria, Rome New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, no. 475, pp. 405, 499.

  • See also
    What
    Where
    When
    In the Museum
    Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History
    MetPublications
245923

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