THE GREAT MIGRATION: FIBULA, THE ANCIENT SAFETY PIN

 

VIDEO OF EXHIBITION OBJECTS:

 

THE GREAT MIGRATION: FIBULA, THE ANCIENT SAFETY PIN

Fibulae are brooches that served to fasten clothes in antiquity. Buttons were invented only in the Medieval period, later than the magnetic compass! Roman fibulae were used throughout the Roman Empire and its neighboring regions. The modern safety pin is a variation on a Roman fibula. Gothic, Sarmatian and Slavic tribes, such as Antae, manufactured fibulae similar to item 1 on display, also known as ‘fingered fibulae.’ A mold for the casting of these fibulae was found by archaeologists near Kyiv.

Unlike most modern brooches, fibulae were not only decorative, they originally served a practical function: to fasten clothes, including cloaks. Fibulae replaced straight pins that were used to fasten clothing in the Neolithic period and Bronze Age. In turn, fibulae were replaced as clothing fasteners in the Middle Ages by buttons. Their descendant, the modern safety-pin, remains in use today.

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IMAGE CITATION:

1. A Pair of Fibulae, 525-575 A.D.

SIlver, garnets: gilding, molding

2.  Assorted Fibulae,  1st-3rd Centuries A.D.

Bronze, enamel: molding

3.  A Pair of Fibulae,  4th-5th Centuries A.D.

Gold, bronze: casting, forging, soldering, granulation

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