Ancient Mediterranean

Digital Project

Single-levelled galley

Cat. No.



8th century B.C.




L: 15.6 cm; H: 9 cm; catch-plate: L: 5.9; H: 6.5 cm


Bronze fibula with decorated catch-plate, broad oval bow and sail-shaped foot

Accession Number

Martin von Wagner Museum H 5760


Simon 2000: 453-61, figs. 1-4

Single-levelled ship to the right with a low, slightly rockered hull. The bow is triangular, with a straight stempost that inclines slightly aft and terminates in an S-shaped horn that ends in a rectangular tip. The ram is short and tapers into a rounded tip. There are three short horizontal planks projecting from the stempost. The forecastle consists three nested rails. These suggest an open framework unenclosed by planking, and find their closest parallel on the main Kynos ship. The sternpost curves sharply inward near the base, after which it becomes nearly straight and tapers towards the end, capped by a rectangular tip. Three short planks project from the sternpost. The aftercastle is identical in form to the forecastle. The quarter rudder is shown slightly forward of the aftercastle and widens towards the oar blade, giving it a triangular shape. The mast is amidships with a single forestay. The two box-like rectangular structures attached aft of its top and base are the crow's nest and mast-step system respectively. The hull is decorated with a pattern comprised of alternating pairs of vertical zigzag lines followed by three straight vertical lines.

Because the fibula has been coated in lacquer, it is not easy to determine whether its repair is modern or antique. The second option is definitely possible, since many other fibulae show antique repairs. There is some damage to the catch-plate on both left and right sides, but the frames are minimally affected.

Side A: ship to the right. There is a quatrefoil rosette in the left corner above the sternpost. Three large fish swim below facing to the left, while three birds with very long necks occupy the space within and in front of the ship. The two birds inside the ship are oriented vertically and appear to cling to the mast and forestay respectively. The third one floats above the stempost facing left

Side B: a chariot facing left with a warrior equipped with a Dipylon shield, a crested helmet, and two spears. Below the horse is a second warrior with a Dipylon shield. A bird with its head turned backwards fills the bottom right corner.

Simon, E. 2000. “Eine Spätgeometrische Böotische Bronzefibel im Martin-Von-Wagner Museum,” in P. L. de Bellefonds, J. Balty and L. Kahil and (eds.) Aγαθoς Δαιμων. Mythes et cultes. Études d'iconographie en l'honneur de Lilly Kahil. BCH Suppl. 38. French School at Athens, pp. 453-463.

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