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Height: 7.000 cm
Width: 7.200 cm
Room 52: Ancient Iran
Leaded bronze belt buckle
Parthian, 2nd-3rd century AD
A Parthian horseman
The horseman on this belt buckle has his hair arranged in a bunched style that is typical of Parthian art. Decorative buckles showing various subjects, such as couples embracing or animals, were popular at this time. A wide range of ornate buckles are shown on statues from the contemporary caravan city of Hatra in northern Mesopotamia.
Hatra was some fifty kilometres, or a day's march, from the Parthian city of Assur. The settlement had a mixture of Parthian and Hellenistic characteristics. The princes of Hatra were Arabs and became loyal Parthian vassals. The city withstood the sieges of two Roman emperors, Trajan in AD 116 and Septimius Severus in AD 198, but it was finally devastated by the Sasanian king Ardashir in the AD 230s. By this time Hatra had actually become an ally of Rome.
Many sculptures of the 1st to 3rd centuries AD have been found at Hatra and other sites. Much of our information about Parthian jewellery comes from a study of the sculptures and coins of this period. We can see that it was worn by both men and women in great profusion.
J. Curtis, Ancient Persia-1 (London, The British Museum Press, 2000)