Gladiator Fibula for a tunic
Fibulae are one of the oldest ways of fastening robes or coats. Archetypes date back to about 13 centuries before Christ. The basic principle of a safety pin has not changed since the ancient world. Very wealthy Romans had glorious gladiator fibulas made; these were also decorated with rare gems, gold and silver. Although fibulae were originally just a way to fasten clothes, in ancient Greece and Rome they developed into insignia or signs of rank. Ordinary people wore simple gladiators’ fibulae made of brass or bronze. Poor people made do with brooches made of wood, or bones from animals or fish.
Still fashionable today
Fibulae served as a way to fasten clothes up to the 14th century AD, when they were replaced by buttons and bobbins. They are still available today. Admittedly they are now purely used as jewellery, but the principle is the same. Brooches and pins, which are secured to clothing by means of a needle, are the descendants of the gladiators’ fibula.
- Made of high-grade bronze
- Produced through a complex casting process
- Stable safer needle mechanism
- Dimensions of approximately 2.2 x 3.7 cm
Fan culture of the ancient world
The gladiators’ fibula proves that people in ancient times also liked to show who their favourite sportsperson or favourite artist was. Similar to today's buttons, it reveals that the wearer was a fan of the gladiator fights which were very popular at the time. The gladiators were the stars of their time. The pictured gladiators’ fibula shows a swordsman with shield. Most gladiators were slaves, but there were also free men who fought for money, fame and glory in the arenas.
A design lesson in history lessons
With their ornate, detailed everyday objects, the Romans clearly demonstrated that fashion and function is not simply a modern concept. The gladiators’ fibula turns fashion-conscious students into fans of antiquity.
In the history or Latin class, touchable subject matter, such as the gladiators’ fibula, promotes learning.
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