Ancient Mediterranean

Digital Project

Single-levelled galley

Cat. No.



Late 8th century




L: 19 cm; W (plate): 6.9 cm


Bronze fibula with a decorated catch-plate

Accession Number

Heidelberg Inv. 62/10


Hampe 1971: 97, no. 126, taf. 94

Single-levelled ship to the right with a low flat hull. Massive rectangular bow with a concave stempost integrating a pointed bow projection and terminating in an incurving S-shaped horn that curves forward then backward parallel to the hull. There are two short horizontal timbers tapering to a pointed tip projecting from the stempost. The forecastle is a solid rectangle integrated to the bow. The sternpost curves steeply, rising near-vertically with a slight incline. It bends sharply inward at its extremity, capped by a triangular tip. Two short timbers tapering to a pointed tip project midway from the sternpost. There is a solid bulwark running the length of the gunwale. A single quarter rudder is shown with a tiller and a rectangular oar blade. The mast is amidships, with a bisected V top (karchesion). The ship's hull itself is filled with a scaly pattern that is also used as filler for the bodies of the fish, birds and two human figures.

Part of nine similar fibulae purchased for the Heidelberg collection apparently from an art market. Hampse suggests that the fact that they come in pairs possibly indicates that they were originally found in tombs. This fibula came in a pair with Hampe 1971: no. 127. The style is purely Geometric and of very high quality. The craftsman is not amongst the hitherto recorded engravers, Hampe dubs him the "Molione master."

Side A: Horse with lead to the left, two water birds to the right beneath him, one under the belly, the other between his hind legs. Another smaller horse facing left with his head turned backwards above. Four leaf star in the field.

Side B: Ship to the right. Two oversized figures on each side of the mast facing each other. One stands at the bow, the other has his right leg touching the sternpost extremity. Large waterbird perched atop the incurving horn of the stempost facing left. Below the hull, smaller bird and a large fish both facing right. Three four leaf stars in the field.

Hampe, R. 1971. Neuerwerbungen 1957-1970. Mainz am Rhein: P. von Zabern.

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