Small brooches like this one, often in stylised animal forms, were worn by both Roman soldiers and subjects across the empire. They served both a decorative and practical function, being used to fasten articles of clothing, particularly cloaks. Archaeological evidence suggests that the centres of Roman brooch production were in the provinces of Britannia and Gaul. Birds were a common decorative theme across the Roman Empire and were especially popular as a fibula design. Based on the elongated tail feathers and triangular crown, it is clear this fibula represents a peacock. Peacocks are native to Asia and Africa and were introduced to the Greek world by Alexander the Great. The were a lavish accessory of the Roman, kept as pets to adorn their houses.
To discover more on Roman and Celtic brooches, please see our relevant blog post: Roman and Celtic Fibulae