Sir John Evans Centenary Project - image background is marbled paper from one of John Evans's books John Evans Numismatic Society Medal 1899

Sir John Evans's Collections of Artefacts


Italo-Byzantine Brooch

Country of Origin: Italy

Description: Gold disc brooch with a sardonyx cameo with white upper layer on a brown ground portraying a profile bust of a helmeted figure, probably Athena, dating to the sixth century.

Dimensions: 4.75cm diameter

Object Period: Italo-Byzantine

Provenance: Benevento, Italy

Museum Accession No.: AN1909.816

Aquisition History: Presented to the Ashmolean by Sir Arthur Evans in 1909.

Other Information: This brooch, used for fastening a chlamys or cloak, is probably an Italo-Byzantine imitation of the imperial fibula of the Byzantine court, described by the sixth-century historian Procopius as a circular brooch with three pendant sapphires. A similar brooch is worn by the emperor Justinian in a wall-mosaic in the church of St. Vitale in Ravenna. This type of brooch, used by the emperor, differed in design from that of lesser official fibulae, which took the shape of a crossbow.