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Kraftig Profilierte Fibulae

Kraftig profilierte, or high profile, fibulae are a group of Roman spring bow fibulae with a high arch, a head that widens into a triangle or diamond shape, and one or two knots, or bulges, on the bow.  There are a large number of variations, though they can be broken down into one-knot and two-knot varieties depending on how many knots are found on the bow.  Note that knobs at the end of the foot do not count towards this total.

In addition, the Thraco-Illyrian Anchor and Pannonian Trumpet types are part of the kraftig profilierte group.

Kraftig profilierte fibulae are descended from La Tene fibulae.  The knots on the bows are the vestigial remains of the knots on the La Tene bows where the turned-up foot was fastened to the bow.  They differ from the La Tene II fibulae, which also have imitation ties instead of genuine ones, in that the head is wider, and the cast construction of the bow and catch is usually thicker and more complicated.

Single Knot Kraftig Profilierte Fibulae

The kraftig profilierte fibulae have only one knot on the bow, though most have a knob at the end of the foot as well.


Standard single knot kraftig profilierte fibulae are separated into types based on the design of the catch.  The catch can be solid with no holes or opening, have rectangular openings, or have several small round holes. 

Single Knot Kraftig Profilierte Fibulae with Rectangles in Catch

Typology:  Almgren 67; Genceva 9a; Cambodunum 1

Dates:  c. 20 BC - AD 30

Distribution: Origin in northern Italy and eastern Alps.  Used at Military sites along the Rhine and Danube.

Single Knot Kraftig Profilierte Fibulae with Holes in Catch

Typology:  Almgren 68; Genceva 9b; Cambodunum 2

Dates:  c. AD 25 - 75

Distribution:  Found at Roman military sites in Noricum, Pannonia and the Danube region.

Single Knot Kraftig Profilierte Fibulae with Solid Catch

Typology:  Almgren 69; Riha 2.9.4; Genceva 9c; Cambodunum 3

Dates:  c. AD 40 - 120.  Flourished AD 40 - 80.  According to some sources used as late as AD 150. 

Distribution:  Rhine and Danube Limes

Notes:  Examples with an S-profile are earlier and dated to c. AD 50 - 80 while those with a lower profile are later and dated to AD 75 - 120 or later. 

Kovrig 53 Type Single Knot Kraftig Profilierte Fibulae

Typology:  Kovrig 53

Dates:  c. AD 100 - 125

Distribution: Danube region.

Narrow Foot (“Sarmatian”) Single Knot Kraftig Profilierte Fibulae

Typology:  Bojovic 11/2; Cociş 6a1

Dates:  c. AD 75 - 180.  Some sources claim use to AD 250.

Distribution:  Moesian origin.  Spread to Pannonia, Dacia.  Sometimes found on all Roman Limes.

Notes:  This type of kraftig profilierte fibula has a fairly low profile and a narrow bow.  The foot in particular is long, flat, very narrow and often has a simple design of punched dots.  these fibulae are usually quite small.  The design is likely of Roman origin.  However it is associated most closely with Sarmatian peoples and is occasionally referred to as a Sarmatian fibula type.  Iron examples are of Barbarian construction.

Okorag Single Knot Kraftig Profilierte Fibulae

Typology:  Okorag type.

Dates:  c. AD 50 - 125

Distribution:  Pannonia, Noricum, Dacia and Barbaricum.

Notes:  This type of kraftig profilierte fibula is usually highly profiled.  It generally has a diamond-section bow which ends in tall, narrow, trapezoidal head.


Typology:  Almgren 238

Dates:  c. AD 70 - 130.  The type with two pairs of knobs on the bow was in use to AD 150.

Distribution:  Pannonia and Noricum.

Notes:  The Roman provincial fibula type is part of the kraftig profilierte group, though the latter term is not always applied to it.  The single knot has become a complicated design consisting of a pair of raised semi-circular loops, each with one or two small knobs on it.  This design is thought to resemble a pair of wings, giving the fibula type its name - flügel fibula is German for "wing fibula".  These are usually very large fibula and often have a perforated foot.

Image:  A Norico-Pannonian Flügel fibula.  This example, like most flügel fibula, is very long - 12.8 cm (5").  This example is rather crude.  The wings are joined together instead of being separate, the bow between the wings and foot is thin and simple, and the foot is decorated with punched dots instead of true perforations.   It was found in southeastern Austria and is likely of truly provincial manufacture.  It is closest to Almgren type 238b.  (SC collection)

Kraftig Profilierte Single Knot Fibulae with No Head-Plate

Typology:  Genceva 9d; Cambodunum 4

Dates:  c. AD 75 - 225.  Usage in the West ended earlier, c. AD 150.   The large catch was dated later - c. AD 100 - 225.

Distribution:  Origin in Pannonia.

Kraftig Profilierte Single Knot Fibulae with Trapezoidal Foot

Typology:  Jobst 4f; Genceva 9e

Dates:  c. AD 80 - 175.  One-piece examples were dated earlier, c. AD 75 - 125, two-piece c. AD 100 - 150.

Distribution: Pannonia, Dacia, Noricum, and Raetia.

Double Knot

Double knot fibulae have two knots on the bow and often have a knob at the end of the foot as well.  They are often divided depending on the form of the knots, as well as the overall form.  Pannonian double knot fibulae have two rounded bulges that run all of the way around the bow.  Button double knot fibulae have a pair of sharper ridge-like knots which extend above the bow, though the bottom of the bow is usually flat.  Black Sea type fibulae have a pair of bi-conical knots and a thin round-section bow.  Another type has knots in the form of stylized birds.    

Pannonian Double Knot Kraftig Profilierte Fibulae

Pannonian double knot kraftig profilierte fibulae are separated into types based on the design of the catch.  The catch can be perforated with several small round holes, have several thin rectangular slots, or have one large hole (open foot).    The group is sometimes known in the UK as the Wallingford type.

Double Knot Kraftig Profilierte Fibulae with Perforated Catch

Typology:  Garbsch A237a; Genceva 8a

Dates:  c. AD 1 - 15

Distribution:  Noricum, Pannonia

Double Knot Kraftig Profilierte Fibulae with Slotted Catch

Typology: Garbsch A236?; Genceva 8b

Dates:  c. AD 10/20 - 70.  Some remain in use up to AD 100.

Distribution: NE Pannonia, Noricum, Raetia, and the Rhine.  Often found in Military camps.

Double Knot Kraftig Profilierte Fibulae with Open Catch

Typology:  Garbsch A236h/m; Genceva 8c

Dates:  c. AD 20 - 100.  According to other sources c. AD 90/100 - 180/190.

Distribution:  SW Pannonia, SE Noricum, Raetia, and Dalmatia.

Double Knot Kraftig Profilierte Fibulae with Animal Head Knots

Typology:  Genceva 8a

Dates:  c. AD 20 - 50.

Distribution:  southern Germany and eastern Alps.

Double Knot Kraftig Profilierte Fibulae with Button Knots

Typology:  Genceva 8e

Dates:  c. AD 150 - 225.  Flourished AD 175 - 220.

Distribution:  southern Danube, NW Black Sea Coast

Pontic (Black Sea) Double Knot Kraftig Profilierte Fibulae

Typology:  Genceva 12a

Dates:  c. AD 100 - 200  (small catch AD 100 - 150, large catch AD 150 - 200).

Distribution:  Pontic origin.  Produced along lower Danube.  Found in Danube region and and Raetia.

Image: Pontic type of double knot kraftig profilierte fibula.  The knots are thin lateral ridges.  Traces of the iron hinge pin can be seen in the rust in the hole at the head.  The foot has a large ornate bi-conic foot knob.  (Noah collection.)

Thraco-Illyrian Anchor Kraftig Profilierte Fibulae

Anchor fibula are part of the kraftig profilierte family.  The head is wider than the usual kraftig profilierte types and resembles an anchor head.  They are divided into types based on construction and decoration.  The name Thraco-Illyrian is from early authors and is based on their find locations.  However, as a Roman-Provincial type appearing in the late 1st century AD they do not really pertain to the Thracian or Illyrian tribes proper.  Recent work by Gojko Tica places the anchor fibulae later than Bojovic does, from mid-2nd to mid-3rd centuries.  They are found in NW Serbia (the Sirmium / Srem region), eastern Bosnia (the Drina valley) and eastern Slovenia.  Gravestones show them being worn by local women.

Anchor Fibulae with Small Spring-Cover

Typology:  Bojovic XIII var. 3 + 4; Patek T VIII/14; Genceva 11a

Dates:  Examples with a triangular catch are earliest, c. AD 80 - 150, while those with a square catch are later, c. AD 150 - 225.  The type flourished circa AD 175 - 250.

Distribution:  Lower Danube, Pannonia, Illyria, Upper Moesia and Dacia.

Notes:  The rectangular spring cover is small and does not cover the entire spring.  The anchor head is not extremely wide. and the anchor arms end in points and not knobs.  This type is often found in silver, though most are bronze.  

Anchor Fibulae Large Spring-Cover

Typology:  Koščević 13; Bojovic XIII var. 1; Kovrig 74; Genceva 11b

Dates:  The exact dating is uncertain.  While some sources (including Genceva) prefer a late date of c. AD 150 - 225, other sources (including Bojovic) prefer an earlier date of late 1st century to mid-2nd century AD (c. AD 80 - 150).

Distribution:  Middle and lower Danube; Pannonia, Moesia, Dacia, and Dalmatia.

Notes:  The rectangular spring cover is wide and covers the entire spring, the anchor head is usually quite wide as well.  This type typically has small knobs at the ends of the anchor arms.  Bojovic adds a sub-type with a pair of small wings on the bow just behind the knot (Bojovic XIII var. 2; Kovrig 72; Patek T VIII/15). 

Image: Anchor fibula with large spring cover.  The anchor shape of the head can be seen, though it is possible that the ends of the arms of the anchor are broken and might have extended a little further.  The wide, narrow plate over the spring (of which nothing remains) is wider than the anchor portion.

Anchor Fibulae with Hinge

Typology:  Cociş c3

Dates:  c. AD 150 - 225.

Distribution: northern Balkan origin.

Notes:  Types has a hinge instead of a spring.

Anchor Fibulae with Bird Decoration on Bow

Dates:  c. AD 100 - 225.

Notes:  There is a bird, often very stylized, on the top of the bow.

Pannonian Trumpet Kraftig Profilierte Fibulae

Typology:  Almgren 85; Riha 3.4; Bojovic XII; Kovrig 60; Genceva 10a

Dates:  Dated to the 2nd century AD, but perhaps used into the 3rd century (c. AD 100 - 225).  The type with spring-cover is earlier (c. AD 100 - 150), that without later (c. AD 150 - 200).  Some types may have begun in the late 1st century.

Distribution:  Origin in Pannonia, or among German tribes north of the upper-middle Danube (open Czech and Slovakia).  Also found in Noricum, and more rarely in Upper Moesia and Dacia.

Notes:  Another variant of the kraftig profilierte group, trumpet fibulae have a wide conical head like the bell of a trumpet.  They are usually small, sometimes very small.  Many silver examples are known.  

There is a variation where the trumpet head flares so wide that it is connected to the bottom of the bow.  This leaves a horizontal perforation through the trumpet head.  This type, usually with a tall catch plate, is Bojovic XII var. 3 and is dated c. AD 150 - 220

Almgren 77 Type Trumpet Fibulae

Typology:  Almgren 77

Dates:  c.  AD 50 - 100.  Some in use until AD 150.

Distribution:  Origin Slovakia

Notes:  This variant of trumpet fibula has a high ring-like flange instead of a knob.

Almgren 101 Type Trumpet Fibulae

Typology:  Almgren 101; Böhme 35

Dates:  c. AD 100 - 150

Distribution:  Rhine Limes, Free Germany, northern Pannonia.  Originates from the Elbe Germans.

Notes:  This variant of trumpet fibula has a foot with a blunt square end and no foot knob.  The foot is often decorated with silver or gold wire inlay or moulded decoration in imitation of wire inlay.  This type is often found in silver.

Image:  Silver Pannonia trumpet fibula, Almgren type 101 (note the square end of the foot).  This example is made of silver and has silver wire decoration on the foot.

Trumpet Fibulae with Trapezoidal Foot

Distribution:  Upper Danube

Notes:  This variant of trumpet fibula has a trapezoidal form of foot.

Kraftig Profilierte Fibulae with Low Profile and Wide Head-Plate

Typology:  Genceva 12b

Dates:  c. AD 175 - 225

Distribution:  southern Bulgaria

Notes:  This type of single knot kraftig profilierte fibula has a lower profile than the regular types.  The head ends with a thin head-plate which extends very far out to each side.  Double knot examples are also known.