Copper-alloy disc brooch
Merovingian, second half of the 7th century
Found in a stone coffin near Dotzheim (Wiesbaden), Hesse, Germany (1828)
Based on a late classical medallion
The brooch is decorated in
The brooch imitates a late Roman medallion, possibly one of the usurping Roman emperor Attalus (AD 409-416), the first to be raised to that office by barbarians. The damaged inscription can be read as: INVICTA ROMA UTERE FELIX ('Rome is invincible, use in good fortune'). The words utere felix indicate that it was a gift. The Franks produced a series of such brooches, with similar or different designs, and the choice of subject possibly reflects a desire to promote themselves as successors to Rome in the West.
H. Roth and E. Wamers, Hessen im Frühmittelalter, Arc (Sigmaringen, Thorbecke, 1984)