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Identification and Creation

Object Number
Fibula (Knotenfibel)
Work Type
pin, fibula
1st century BCE
Creation Place: Ancient & Byzantine World, Europe
Roman Republican period
Persistent Link

Physical Descriptions

Cast, lost-wax process
2.1 x 8.3 cm (13/16 x 3 1/4 in.)
Technical Details

Chemical Composition: XRF data from Artax 1
Alloy: Brass
Alloying Elements: copper, zinc
Other Elements: tin, lead, iron

K. Eremin, January 2014

Technical Observations: The patina is green with light gray accretions. The pin is bent and deformed, and a modern solder join repairs a break where it meets the spring and holds it tight in the catchplate. The surface is partially preserved.

The spring and pin were hammered into shape and inserted into a hole in the broad end of the bow. The bow and catchplate were cast, probably from a model made directly in wax. The finishing of the surfaces is obscured by corrosion products and accretions. The small hole in the head of the bow appears to be a small casting flaw in an otherwise solid casting.

Henry Lie (submitted 2012)


Recorded Ownership History
Dr. Harris Kennedy, Milton, MA (by 1932), gift; to the William Hayes Fogg Art Museum, 1932.

Acquisition and Rights

Credit Line
Harvard Art Museums/Arthur M. Sackler Museum, Gift of Dr. Harris Kennedy, Class of 1894
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 fibula (an example of a “Knotenfibel”) has a small trumpet-shaped head that is attached directly to a four-coil spring; the pin may be a modern repair or an ancient pin that does not belong with the object. The bow is slender, circular in section, and decorated with raised discs. Instead of being a folded sheet, the catchplate has a triangular cutout on its side (1).


1. Compare E. Ettlinger, Die römischen Fibeln in der Schweiz (Bern, 1973) 48-54 (type 8), pl. 4.1-4; R. Hattatt, Brooches of Antiquity: A Third Selection of Brooches from the Author’s Collection (Oxford, 1987) 26-29, nos. 748-50; and S. Demetz, Fibeln der spätlatène- und frühen römischen Kaiserzeit in den Alpenländern, Frühgeschichtliche und provinzialrömische Archäologie, Materialien und Forschungen 4 (Rahden, 1999) 27-38, pl. 2.3.

Lisa M. Anderson

Subjects and Contexts

  • Ancient Bronzes

Verification Level

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