Bronze Fibula: Ancient Roman, circa 2nd Century AD
An exceptionally fine Ancient Roman bronze zoomorphic brooch depicting a dolphin. The condition of this rare brooch is remarkable: it has a fine dark brown patina and the spring-loaded pin is intact. The dolphin appears many times in Roman mythology. It was the messenger of Poseidon, and carried souls to the “Islands of the Blessed.” By extension, in early Christian beliefs, the dolphin represented resurrection and salvation (Ref: Catton, “Dolphins in Mythology” and Ferguson “Signs and Symbols in Christian Art”). Another slightly later dolphin brooch, found in Yorkshire, UK, is pictured in Hattatt, “Ancient Brooches,” figure 1203.
The fibula was in widespread use throughout the ancient world. The Roman conquests spread the use of the fibula, which became the basis for more complicated brooches. In the severe climate of northern Europe, it routinely functioned as a fastening for a heavy cloak or tunic.
(47 mm in Length – 1 7/8”)