Timeless are pleased to offer a large Roman Military Crossbow Brooch, dating from the 4th century A.D.
The crossbow brooch was ubiquitous throughout the late Roman empire, often worn on the shoulder with the long, tapering leg uppermost (so that the brooch would appear inverted to us). The deep bow of the brooch would allow the Roman soldier to 'gather up' the thick material of his cloak and pin it securely - much like the other classic Roman military brooch: the knee brooch.
The crossbow brooch is a type of fibula brooch (essentially a fancy safety pin -fibula means clasp) from the Roman republic and empire. While buckles were common, and buttons occasionally used, the pin and catchplate clasp of the fibula lent itself to the flowing robes, tunics and cloaks of the Roman period.
At almost 8cm in length, the brooch is quite large for its type, and is classed as a 'Keller Type 3' with an elongated diagonal section, short facets on the back, broad onion-shaped knops, and a bow shorter than the foot.
Now available in the Timeless Galleries
ROMAN MILITARY BROOCH
Acquired by Timeless on the specialist UK antiquities market, 2020. Formerly part of a London-based collection formed in the 1970s.