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Early Byzantine Bronze Military Phalera or Boss

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Seller: clioantiquities (143) 100%, Location: Wilmington, North Carolina, Ships to: US, Item: 132019511813 Early Byzantine Bronze Military Phalera or Boss CULTURE / REGION OF ORIGIN: Byzantine Empire DATE: 5th to 7th Century AD DIMENSIONS: 5.08 cm (2.0 in.) diameter DESCRIPTION: An early Byzantine circular phalera or boss, in cast and openwork bronze, resembling a christogram. Phalerae were decorative metal plates, usually circular. Earlier Roman examples tended to be worn over the armor but by the early Byzantine period these were largely restricted to use by cavalry to adorn their harnesses and other tack. This example, which bears a very strong resemblance to a christogram (the Greek letters Chi and Rho, symbolizing Christ), is defined by a thick rim with two pierced holes for attachment. The space between the six radial arms is filled with pierced openwork decoration in thin sheet bronze, perhaps representing stylized birds. All of these factors combine to point towards an Early Byzantine date. The object has been split directly down the middle and neatly repaired. It has some patches of encrustation and a generally dark green patina. Fragile but highly uncommon. PROVENANCE: Formerly in a German private collection. COMPARISONS: For a general discussion of phalerae, see Andrew Apples and Stuart Laycock, Roman Buckles and Military Fittings, Section 1, Chapter 9.

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