Heritage100

Roman Hare Brooch

Roman hare brooch

...a prized possession within a different culture...

This brooch of a running hare is made of bronze, framing a green enamel cell, with smaller cells of blue and red inside. The front part of the head is missing.

The brooch was attached by means of a sprung pin, which survives. It is believed to have been made by the Romans in the 2nd century AD, but it was found in an Anglo-Saxon grave on the Isle of Wight.

It is not known whether the brooch was brought to the Island by the Romans, or whether it travelled there later, but it does show how an item fashionable in one era can become a prized possession within a different culture.

The fact that the brooch is quite worn implies that this item was often used in the three centuries between its creation and the day when it was buried with its last owner.

It is commonly believed that the Romans introduced the brown hare to Britain. Many Romans and Anglo-Saxons believed that the animal was a symbol of fertility and of new growth.

Quick Facts

  • Found by George Hillier
  • Found at Carisbrooke
  • Made of bronze and enamel
  • Date made 2nd century AD
  • Accession number IWCMS:449.1.1
  • Dimensions Length 36mm

Facts

  • Sir John Oglander’s recipe to cure deafness in the ears: early 17th century
    “Take the gall of a hare and put thereof a drop or two, mornings and evenings for three days, together into your ears and stop them close with black wool. A certain cure”.

Did you know?

In 1574, the Captain of the Isle of Wight, Sir Edward Horsey, introduced or restocked the Isle of Wight with hares. He proclaimed that “whosoever should bring in a live hare would have a lamb for him: by his care the Island was stored. We had infinite of coneys but not one hare.”  Comment of Sir John Oglander.

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