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Identification and Creation

Object Number
Replica of the Praeneste Fibula
Work Type
fibula, pin
Creation Place: Unidentified Region
Persistent Link

Physical Descriptions

Copper alloy, gilded
11 cm (4 5/16 in.)
Technical Details

Technical Observations: The fibula appears is a modern fabrication of a known artifact, and as such, there is little evidence indicating antiquity.

Henry Lie

Acquisition and Rights

Credit Line
Harvard Art Museums/Arthur M. Sackler Museum, Transfer from the Department of the Classics, Harvard University, Purchased in Rome
Accession Year
Object Number
Asian and Mediterranean Art

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Published Catalogue Text: Ancient Mediterranean and Near Eastern Bronzes at the Harvard Art Museums
This object is a replica of the Praeneste fibula, which bears one of the earliest Latin inscriptions: “MANIOS MED FHEFHAKED NVMASIOI” (Manius made me for Numerius). The inscription on the original was incised, while on this replica it appears to be part of the casting; the letterforms differ slightly, and the replica does not copy the original inscription exactly. This replica is missing the pin; it is also, like the original, missing one of the cylindrical elements on the bow.

The original Praeneste fibula is now in the Museo Preistorico Etnografico Luigi Pigorini, Rome, inv. no. 2819. Although the authenticity of the inscription on that piece has been extensively debated (1), recent technical analysis with a scanning electron microscope has indicated that the inscription is authentic (2).


1. See A. E. Gordon, The Inscribed Fibula Praenestina: Problems of Authenticity, University of California Publications: Classical Studies 16 (Berkeley, 1975); D. Ridgway, “Manios Faked?” Bulletin of the Institute of Classical Studies 24 (1977): 17-30; E. P. Hamp, “Is the Fibula a Fake?” American Journal of Philology 102.2 (1981): 151-53.

2. See D. F. Maras, “Scientists Declare the Fibula Praenestina and Its Inscription to be Genuine ‘Beyond Any Reasonable Doubt,’” Etruscan News 14 (2012). It would be interesting to compare the condition of the surfaces of the original fibula with this replica, which is thought to be gilt.

Lisa M. Anderson

Exhibition History

  • 32Q: 2700 Impressionism, Harvard Art Museums, Cambridge, 09/27/2018 - 02/07/2019
  • 32Q: 3620 University Study Gallery, Harvard Art Museums, Cambridge, 01/28/2023 - 05/07/2023

Subjects and Contexts

  • Ancient Bronzes

Verification Level

This record has been reviewed by the curatorial staff but may be incomplete. Our records are frequently revised and enhanced. For more information please contact the Division of Asian and Mediterranean Art at