This fibula, a type of brooch used to pin outer garments, features a crossbar that ends in three onion-shaped terminals, which give the fibula a shape reminiscent of a crossbow. An arched bow connects the crossbar to the longer catchplate, which is ornamented with vegetal motifs.
Crossbow fibulae, a type of brooch whose name derives from its resemblance to the much-later weapon, were used by men to pin an outer robe at the right shoulder. The folds of the robe were gathered beneath the arched bow segment of the fibula above the trilobed crossbar and held in place by a pin, while the longer catchplate projected vertically above the shoulder. During the fourth through sixth centuries men, typically of Germanic origin, who were granted an official position in the Roman Empire wore such fibula to communicate this important social distinction.