Small brooches like this one 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. The design of this plate brooch is simple, but nevertheless it would have served as a symbol of class or status due to its quality and materiality. It is rather uncommon for brooches to show human forms, which makes this piece quite unique. Early plate brooches, of which this is typical, were often more plain in decoration, sometimes tinned or featuring niello inlay. Unusual in form, this brooch could represent the image of a deity with the crescent shape a powerful apotropaic symbol.
To discover more on Roman and Celtic brooches, please see our relevant blog post: Roman and Celtic Fibulae