This week one of our Museum Assistants, Hannah R, has chosen our Object Highlight.
Aesica style Roman brooch:
Jewelry is always one of those things that will always grab our attention in museums, not just because of their beauty but also because they are highly personal items. Jewelry is a outward expression of ourselves, our personal tastes and preferences as well as a way of showing off our wealth and status. This is especially true of the Romans. Go back to 2nd century England and you will find yourself in a time and place where precious metals are harder to get hold of and much more expensive. All jewelry is made by hand not by machine so it takes great skill and time to make each piece. At a time when disposable income is rare, a statement piece like this brooch is a way of saying ‘I have enough wealth to buy something purely because it looks good’.
This particular Roman brooch dates to the late 1st early 2nd century CE and it is a beautiful example of an aesica style brooch. This style brooch is a variant on fan-tail brooches and is inspired by the Celtic art that Romans encountered during there conquest in England. This style brooch was first discovered in the Roman fort Aesica in Northumberland, it was the ninth fort along Hadrian’s Wall and held garrisons in both the second and third centuries.
Personal decoration will always hold the most fascination for me as it creates so many questions about the person who wore it. We will never know who this brooch belonged to or how they afforded such a beautiful piece but the intrigue of it is half it’s beauty in my opinion.