Crossbow Brooch, Cast copper alloy with silver inlay, Late Roman or Byzantine

Crossbow Brooch

early 400s
Late Roman or Byzantine
Cast copper alloy with silver inlay
Overall: 3 11/16 x 2 1/8 x 1 1/4 in. (9.4 x 5.4 x 3.1 cm)
Metalwork-Copper alloy
Credit Line:
Purchase, The Kurt Berliner Foundation Gift, 2001
Accession Number:
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 301
A crossbow brooch of the type worn by civil servants in fifth-century Pannonia. Consisting of a relatively long catch plate, substantial bow, and onion-shaped knob, the brooch features silver inlays, adorned with an intricate pattern of zigzag lines and tiny circles and spirals. The safety mechanism for the catchplate is a wedge-shaped safety bar, now amalgamated to the brooch.
[ Robert Haber and Associates Inc., Ancient Art, New York (sold 2001)]