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Silver Roman-Byzantine StrapBelt Applique Pendant AD800 $99.99


For Customers outside of USA

Handsome, Intact Ancient Roman-Byzantine Solid Silver Belt/Strap Applique/Embellishment Pendant and Chain.

CLASSIFICATION: Eastern Roman Empire/Byzantium Silver Artifact, Belt or Strap Applique/Embellishment (Pendant). Contemporary Chain and Split Ring.

ATTRIBUTION: Eastern Roman Empire (Macedon), Eighth to Tenth Century A.D.

SIZE/MEASUREMENTS:

Length: 29 millimeters.

Width: 11 millimeters.

Thickness: 4 millimeters.

Weight: 3.19 grams.

Chain: Contemporary silver tone 45 centimeters (18 inches). Other chains available on request; silver and gold plated; sterling, solid 14kt gold, 14kt gold fill, etc., in lengths from 16 to 30 inches.

CONDITION: Excellent. Halter/Bridle Stud is entirely intact. Extremely light porosity (surface pitting caused by contact with earth while buried). Professionally conserved.

DETAIL: This is a very handsome, decorative/functional piece of ancient silver Roman-Byzantine ornamentation. If one examines this intricate piece of silver ornamentation, it is clear that this was most likely an appliquª for a belt or strap. You can see the two holes where studs or rivets would have attached this to a leather strap or belt. It could have been ornamentation used by the cavalry for bridle or halter straps on a horse. However it is much more likely that it might have been used by a Roman-Byzantine soldier as an appliquª on a strap or belt worn by the solider himself (and not the horse). It is indeed the type of decorative ornamentation one would have expected to find on a belt or strap employed by a Roman Soldier.

Many pieces of equipment and weaponry were carried on the person of a Roman (Byzantine) Legionnaire, many held in place with belts (and buckles), and such ornamental appliquªs were quite popular. Though intended as a belt or strap ornament, we hope you will agree that with the addition of a contemporary split ring, it makes a handsome pendant. With the addition of a contemporary chain, it can be worn and enjoyed - an authentic "souvenir" of the Eastern Roman Empire. Worn as a pendant, we are sure that the original owner would not disapprove, as the Eastern Empire Roman Byzantines were quite fond of wearing ornamental brooches, pins and pendants. As a pendant it is a very handsome piece of jewelry, of very nice design and workmanship, an evocative memory of the glory and grandeur which was the world of Byzantium. It is a very solid piece, well constructed, and in a very good state of preservation.

As you can see, it is entirely intact and very handsome! Originally it was fastened onto a leather strap or belt, and the appliquª was lost or discarded over one thousand years ago. Although it was of course not originally intended as a piece of jewelry, nonetheless we felt that mounted onto a chain it was quite handsome and a significant artifact of might of the ancient Roman-Byzantine military machine. The Romans and their successors in the East (Byzantium) oftentimes used very ornate belt buckles, as well as many other forms of personal jewelry including bracelets worn both on the forearm and upper arm, rings, pendants, earrings, hair pins, and brooches. It is a very piece, well constructed, and in a great state of preservation. The artifact evidences none of the gross porosity (fine surface pitting due to burial in soil) which so commonly disfigures small ancient metal artifacts.

The chain comes with the appliquª at no additional charge. We also have available gold and silver electroplate chains, as well as solid silver and solid 14kt gold chains in lengths from 16 to 24 inches. If you prefer, upon request, we could mount the belt appliquª onto a framed display plaque (see it here), and it would make a great gift. The plaque narrates a brief outline of the history of the Roman Empire, along with a very nice image of ruins dating from the Roman Empire, and a map of the Roman Empire at its apex. It would not only make a very handsome display, but would be very educational as well. Whether worn as a pendant, displayed or mounted onto a plaque, it is a wonderfully attractive and evocative relic of the grandeur and glory which was Roman Byzantium.

HISTORY: After gold, silver is the metal most widely used in jewelry and the most malleable. The oldest silver artifacts date from ancient Sumeria about 4000 BC. Although known during the Copper Age, silver made only rare appearances in jewelry before the classical age. Despite its infrequent use as jewelry however, silver was widely used as coinage due to its softness, brilliant color, and resistance to oxidation. It was also widely used as ornamental work and in other metal wares. In ancient cultures, especially in Rome, silver was highly prized for the making of plate ware, household utensils, and ornamental work. Silver later lost its position of dominance to gold, but, during the European Middle Ages, it once again became the principal material used for metal artwork. Large quantities of silver from the New World also encouraged eager buyers in Europe.

The art of silver work flourished in the Renaissance, finding expression in virtually every imaginable form. Silver was often plated with gold and other decorative materials. Though less costly than gold, silver was nonetheless the domain of royalty and the wealthy. Although silver sheets had been used to overlay wood and other metals since ancient Greece, an 18th-century technique of fusing thin silver sheets to copper brought silver goods called Sheffield plate within the reach of most people. At the same time the use of silver in jewelry making had also started gaining popularity in the 17th century. It was often as support in settings for diamonds and other transparent precious stones, in order to encourage the reflection of light. Silver continued to gain in popularity throughout the 18th and 19th centuries, and by the 20th century competed with gold as the principal metal used in the manufacture of jewelry.

The Byzantine Empire was the eastern remainder of the great Roman Empire, and stretched from its capital in Constantinople (present-day Istanbul, Turkey) through much of Eastern Europe, Asia Minor, and small portions of North Africa and the Middle East. Prior to the fifth century collapse of the Western Roman Empire, one of Rome's greatest emperors, Constantine the Great, established a second capital city for the Roman Empire in the East at Byzantium, present day Turkey. Constantine The Great sought to reunite the Roman Empire, centered upon Christian faith, by establishing a second "capital" for the Eastern Roman, away from the pagan influences of the city of Rome. Established as the new capital city for the Eastern Roman Empire in the fourth century, Constantine named the city in his own honor, "Constantinople".

After the collapse of the Western Roman Empire, the Eastern Roman Empire, the "Byzantine Empire", lasted for another thousand years as the cultural, religious and economic center of Eastern Europe. At the same time, as a consequence of the fall of the Western Roman Empire, most of the rest of Europe suffered through one thousand years of the "dark ages". As the center of the Byzantine Empire, Constantinople was one of the most elaborate, civilized, and wealthy cities in all of history. The Christian Church eventually became the major political force in the Byzantine Empire. In Byzantine art, God rather than man stood at the center of the universe. Constantine the Great is also credited with being the first Christian Roman Emperor, and was eventually canonized by the Orthodox Church. Christianity had of course been generally outlawed prior to his reign.

Under the Byzantine Empire, Christianity became more than just a faith, it was the theme of the entire empire, its politics, and the very meaning of life. Christianity formed an all-encompassing way of life, and the influence of the Byzantine Empire reached far both in terms of time and geography, certainly a predominant influence in all of Europe up until the Protestant Reformation. In Byzantine art, God rather than man stood at the center of the universe. Representations of Christ, the Virgin, and various saints predominated the coinage of the era. The minting of the coins remained crude however, and collectors today prize Byzantine coins for their extravagant variations; ragged edges, "cupped" coins, etc. Other artifacts such as rings, pendants, and pottery are likewise prized for their characteristically intricate designs.

Macedon (or Macedonia) is known to have been inhabited since the Neolithic, early inhabitants including Thracians, Pannonians, and Ilyrians. It is believed by anthropologists that the original population was of Indo-European Dorian stock. The Dorians were responsible for the invasion of Myceanean Greece to the south about 1150 A.D., precipitating the "Greek Dark Ages". Mycenea was sacked, and the archaeological record shows that many other principle cities in Greece and Crete were reduced to villages. It is known that the Greeks considered the Doric Macedonians "barbarians", and that the Macedonians spoke a distinct language or dialect, and were considered by the Greeks as "non-Greek" speakers.

Up until the time of Alexander the Great Macedonians were not allowed to participate in Olympic Games. However with the Hellenization of the Greek Peninsula, eventually Macedon was considered Hellenic. The area of ancient Macedon was in the north part of the Greek Peninsula, and was bordered by ancient Thrace. Ancient Macedon is now split between Greece and the Republic of Macedonia (formerly part of Yugosalvia). Due to the barbarian incursions and depopulation of the region after the fall of the Roman Empire, the surviving Greek population of Macedon fled southwards into what is now the Macedonian region of Greece; while eventually the northernmost regions (present day Republic of Macedonia) became repopulated with Slavic peoples, and even later by Armenians.

The ancient populations coalesced into the Kingdom of Macedona about 800 B.C. Ancient Macedon fell to the Persian Armies of Darius the Great in the late sixth century B.C. It became more Hellenic in character after King Alexander I of Macedon began promoting the Attic (Greek) dialect and culture in the first half of the fifth century B.C. The Hellenic character of Macedon grew over the next century. Under the rule of Philip II, Macedon extended its power over the rest of northern Greece, including Thrace, Pannonia, and Illyria. Philip's son Alexander the Great conquered not only the remainder of Greece, but also the Persian Empire, Egypt, and Northern India. After his death Alexander's generals divided the empire between them, founding their own states and dynasties.

Macedon was part of the empire created by Antigonus, remaining independent until foolishly engaging the Romans in three successive wars in the late third and early second centuries B.C. The Romans initially divided Macedonia into four republics, client kingdoms of Rome, before finally annexing Macedon as the first Roman Province in 146 B.C. With the division of the Roman Empire, Macedon eventually became part of the surviving Eastern Roman/Byzantine Empire. However the population of the entire region was severely depleted by destructive successive invasions of Goths, Avars, Visigoths, Huns, and Vandals. In the fifth and sixth centuries a number of Slavic tribes repopulated the desolated northern regions (what is today the Republic of Macedonia).

Most of inland (Slavic) Macedonia was incorporated into Bulgaria in the ninth century, while the ethnic Greek Aegean coastal regions remained part of the Byzantine Empire. However the period following (one century plus) was punctuated by almost incessant warfare between Bulgaria and the Byzantine Empire, until finally in 1018 A.D. Bulgaria fell and the whole of Macedonia was incorporated into the Byzantine Empire as the province of Bulgaria. Macedonia was ultimately to fall to the Islamic Ottoman Empire in the first half of the fifteenth century. For the next five centuries Macedonia remained part of the Ottoman Empire.

The initial period of Ottoman rule saw the complete desolation of the plains and river valleys of Macedonia. The Christian population there was slaughtered, escaped to the mountains or was forcefully converted to Islam. Towns destroyed during the conquest were repopulated with Turkish Muslim settlers. At the conclusion of World War I and the dismembering of the Ottoman Empire, Macedonia was incorporated with the rest of Serbia into the Kingdon of Serbs, Croats, Slovenes (later the Kingdom of Yugoslavia). After the fall of the Soviet Empire late in the twentieth century, Slavic Macedonia became the Republic of Macedonia. Greek Macedonia remains of course, part of Greece.

SHIPPING: These antiquities come from a number of collections which by and large originated here in Eastern Europe. As well, additional specimens are occasionally acquired from other institutions and dealers, principally in Eastern Europe and the Eastern Mediterranean. All of these artifacts are now in the United States and are available for immediate delivery via U.S. Mail. All purchases are backed by an unlimited guarantee of satisfaction and authenticity. If for any reason you are not entirely satisfied with your purchase, you may return it for a complete and immediate refund of your entire purchase price. A certificate of authenticity (COA) is available upon request.

Our order fulfillment center near Seattle, Washington will ship your purchase within one business day of receipt of your personal check or money order. If you wish to pay electronically, we accept both PayPal and BidPay. However we ask that you PLEASE WAIT before remitting until we have mutually agreed upon method of shipment and shipping charges and you understand our PayPal limitations and policies (stated here). We will ship within one business day of our receipt of your electronic remittance.

A certificate of authenticity (COA) is available upon request. We prefer your personal check or money order over any other form of payment - and we will ship immediately upon receipt of your check (no "holds"). Please see our "ADDITIONAL TERMS OF SALE."