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XXI

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Plate Fibulae

Plate fibulae have a body that is generally flat and wide. The pin usually runs very close to the body. Plate fibulae are thus not useful for fastening fabric together and are usually only decorative. They come in a huge variety of forms and shapes.

Image: A selection of different plate fibula types.

Plate Fibula with Spring

A spring is attached to the back of the plate, either fitted in a loop or soldered. Such springs are almost always bilateral and usually have three or four loops on each side.

Image: The reverse of this Celtic style Roman open work plate fibula has a spring instead of a hinge. It is a bilateral spring with 4 loops, or winds on each side for a total of 8 loops.

Plate Fibula with Hinge

The pin is fixed to the reverse of the plate with a hinge fitted to either one or, more usually, two plaques. (See Bow Fibulae with Hinge, above, for more details.)

Image: The reverse of this Roman plate fibula clearly shows a double plaque arrangement for hinge. The hinge was iron and has mostly disappeared though some rust spots can be seen. Opposite the double plaque is the catch - in this case a simple flange folded over to retain the pin end.

Roman Plate Fibulae

Roman plate fibula are divided into groups depending on what shape the plate takes:

Geometric Plate Fibula (round, rosette, rhomboid, lunar (crescent), rectangular, star, triangular, wheel, round with dolphins, complex, etc.)
Openwork Plate Fibula (round, symmetrical, Celtic trumpet, pelta, swastika, horse-head swastika, etc.)
Enamel Plate Fibula (round, diamond, openwork, symmetrical, complex, etc.)
Letter Plate Fibula (S, P, B, M, N, Roma monogram, etc.)
Zoomorphic Plate Fibula (animals - bird (various types), horse, dog, hare, deer, leopard, lion, frog, fish, sea-horse, fly, etc.)
Skeuomorphic Plate Fibula (objects - axe, sandal, shrine, campgate, cornucopia, musical instrument (various types), phallus, etc.)
Tutulus Fibula (conical - plain, with knob, enameled, umbonate, etc.)

Anglo-Saxon Plate Fibulae

Anglo-Saxon Dragonesque Plate Fibulae
Anglo-Saxon Disc Fibulae