Roman Bronze Peacock Brooch

£ 295.00

A Romano-British bronze plate brooch in the form of a peacock, shown in profile. Its body tapers into an elegantly curved, elongated neck. The bird’s head features a plume of feathers on the top and a small, hooked beak. Its eye has been marked by an incised concentric circle, the same as the four which decorate its tail feathers, extending out from its body and marked out with faint incised delineations. The body is decorated with three incised diagonal lines. The bird’s feet are playfully stuck out as though it is in motion. The reverse of the brooch is plain except for the original hinged pin holder and extensive catch. The pin is now missing.

Date: Circa 1st - 3rd Century AD
Provenance: Ex Cambridge collection, acquired 1990s-2000s.
Condition: Very fine condition with surface patination. The pin is now missing.

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

Weight 10.8 g
Dimensions L 3.5 x W 1.2 x H 3.2 cm



Central Europe, North Europe, Western Europe

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