Ancient Brooches & Fibulae

The ‘fibula’ or brooch was originally designed for fastening garments in ancient Greece and Rome, and although a variety of shapes developed, all examples were based on the safety-pin principle. The Etruscans were also fond of fibulae, some of which were very large and decorated with elaborate granulation and processions of animals carved in relief. Roman conquests disseminated the use of fibulae across the ever-expanding Empire and this gave rise to more complicated brooch designs. By the Middle Ages, however, the Roman safety-pin type of fibula had become obsolete.