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.
Inscription: inscribed: "HERCVLI AVGVSTE SEMPER VINCAS'
Said to be from Arretium (modern Arezzo, Italy)
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Johansen, Ida Malte. 1994. "Rings, Fibulae and Buckles with Imperial Portraits and Inscriptions." Journal of Roman Archaeology, 7: p. 227 n. 25.
Deppert-Lippitz, Barbara. 2000. "A Late Antique Crossbow Fibula in The Metropolitan Museum of Art." Metropolitan Museum Journal, 35: no. 3, pp. 46, 48–49, figs. 9a, b.
Picón, Carlos A. 2007. Art of the Classical World in the Metropolitan Museum of Art: Greece, Cyprus, Etruria, Rome no. 475, pp. 405, 499, New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art.