Zoomorphic Swastika Horse Brooch, c. 3rd Cent
Copper alloy; 38mm/11.9gm
Con/ dark brown patina; pin intact and wearable.
Ref/ Not listed in the Hattatt catalogue
Seller's Note/ From a morphological point of view, the swastika-shaped fibulae with horse-head decorations combine two common motifs: swastika or solar symbols and animal representations that appear as horse heads, more or less schematically represented at the ends of the four arms.
Ideologically, both elements designate "movement", which could confirm Nicolae Gudea's theory, according to which these brooches are artistic expressions of a horse cult that was born from the impact that the cavalry had as a basic military unit, with the establishment of Illyrian cavalry corps.
Another opinion belongs to Serbian researcher Sofija Petkovi, who believes that the appearance of this type of fibulae is closely related to the recruitment of "barbarians", especially Sarmatians and Alans, among Roman cavalry units, as a result of reforms adopted in the early 3rd Century AD.
The wide diffusion area of this type of fibulae is the result of a massive and constant movement of troops from the Balkan Peninsula during the reign of Emperor Maximinus Thrax (235–238 AD) and throughout the Tetrarchy period. They are found in the provinces of Dacia, Dardania, Pannonia Inferior, Moesia Superior, Moesia Inferior, Noricum, in the North Pontic area (Chersonesos), as well as in Germany and Northern Italy.