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Roman dolphin attachment




Material  Silvered Bronze
Dimensions 6.8cm long x  3.3cm wide 0.1cm thick with an attachment pin 0.8cm long.
Roman Empire 2nd to 4th Century AD

An interesting silvered piece of bronze with two dolphins opposing each other. 

The symmetric dolphins or serpents are finely engraved into the bronze, while a the center of the piece has detailed designs which appear to once have been darkly enameled.  The left side has been repaired, and appeared to have been folded over during ancient times.

The curved or crescent shaped bottom portion has numerous triangles in a line following the curve.  These also appear to have been enameled at one time.

The reverse is covered in a thick patina, while the center mounting pin clearly shows that it had been hammered flat at the top.

In terms of identifying the piece it is very difficult, as I have been unable to find any parallel pieces.  The style of the dolphins is typical however of 3rd Century military motives and appears in various locations including civilian settlements (see mosaics below).   

The length of the mounting pin or rivet makes me believe that it was attached to something wooden or organic.  It is too long to be for a piece of leather or other metal (such as a helmet).  However it could very well have adorned a beautifully decorated chest or other wooden piece.

From a Roman Palace in England.

From a 5th Century Mosaic.

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Reverse View

Mount View

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**Note on background. Close up view of the wall of the Colosseum of Pula, Croatia. Picture taken 2014