Lot 35: Roman Gold Crossbow Brooch with VTERE FELIX
December 6, 2016
London, United KingdomLive Auction
Description: 4th century AD. A gold bow brooch with large kidney-shaped bow with central rib engraved with S-pattern; the knops trimmed with beading; wide cross bar below which runs a bar inscribed VTERE FELIX, framed with pelta loops. For a similar example see The British Museum accession number 1962,1205.1. 38.61 grams, 75mm (3"). From the important collection of Christian artefacts formed by a London gentleman, 1970s-1980s. Accompanied by a positive X-Ray Fluorescence metal analysis certificate. This type of fibula, used to fasten a cloak around the neck, became part of the standard insignia of military personnel during the third century A.D. This example is inscribed in Latin: VTERE FELIX, meaning 'use happily'. The expression utere felix is the second most common inscriptional formula on items from the Roman Empire, and is used to wish good luck, well-being and joy. The brooch would have been made at an imperial workshop and presented as a gift to a senior member of the imperial staff.
Condition Report: Very fine condition. Very rare.