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Unique ID: NCL-9686D8

Object type certainty: Certain
Workflow status: Awaiting validation Find awaiting validation

A complete silver annular brooch with inscriptions in Lombardic capitals on both sides: + IESUS NAZARENUS REX I[udeorum]/IASPER FERT AURUM TUS (Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews/Casper brings gold, frankincense). The frame is circular in plan, with a rectangular cross section. The text is framed by raised borders running around the inner and outer circumference of the frame. The frame is narrower at the attachment point for the pin, and the  penannular shape of the end of the pin loops around it, forming a hinge. The hinge is the narrowest part of the pin, which is widest next to the hinge and tapers towards its end. The widest part is defined by a double ridge, running across the top of the pin. This small decorative element, along with the visible hook of the hinge on the other side may be taken as an indication that the intended front of the brooch is the side with the IESUS NAZARENUS REX I inscription. The pin hoop has a crack across the top, while the body of the brooch is cracked through the full width of the brooch next to the pin 

Diameter - 37.44mm; Thickness 1.85mm; Width od the ring 4.88mm; Pin length including the pin hoop 37.53; Pin width at widest point 4.64mm

Weight, 9.54g

Such brooches are not common, but there is at least one in the Museum of London, which shares the IESUS NAZARENUS REX I inscription (Egan and Pritchard 1991 , 254-5, no. 1337) and similar examples which have been reported as treasure include DUR-17DE65 (2012T961). The other inscription is not attested elsewhere on the database, although there are other examples that name magi including IOW-A7AC5D (2017T290) and IOW-336352 (2012T221). One 14th century annular brooch in the British Museum (AF.2721) combines the IESUS NAZARENUS inscription with a Magi inscription. There is a similar example in gold in the V&A (M.38-1975).

The language of the Magi inscription on this brooch associates Casper (of which IASPER is a known variant) is associated with two gifts: gold (AURUM) and frankincense (TUS), wheras the Magi are usually described as bringing one gift each. This is probably a result of abbreviation from a longer phrase, possibly a variant of the following verse, which attests the use of the names of the Magi as a treatment for epilepsy: Iasper fert myrrham, thus Melchior, Baltasar aurum/Hec tria qui secum portabit nomina regum/Solvitur a morbo Christi pietate caduco (Evans 1922, p.126). 

Find of note status

This is a find of note and has been designated: Include in MedArch

Class: Annular

Subsequent actions

Current location of find: GNM
Subsequent action after recording: Submitted for consideration as Treasure

Treasure details

Treasure case tracking number: 2021T34


Broad period: MEDIEVAL
Period from: MEDIEVAL
Period to: MEDIEVAL
Date from: Circa AD 1200
Date to: Circa AD 1450

Dimensions and weight

Quantity: 1
Thickness: 1.85 mm
Weight: 9.54 g
Diameter: 37.44 mm

Discovery dates

Date(s) of discovery: Thursday 3rd December 2020

Personal details

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Other reference numbers

Other reference: #9405
Treasure case number: 2021T34

Materials and construction

Primary material: Silver
Completeness: Incomplete

Spatial metadata

Region: North East (European Region)
County or Unitary authority: Northumberland (Unitary Authority)
District: Northumberland (Unitary Authority)
To be known as: Near Capheaton

Spatial coordinates

Grid reference source: From finder
Unmasked grid reference accurate to a 1 metre square.

Discovery metadata

Method of discovery: Metal detector
Discovery circumstances: Metal detecting
Current location: GNM
General landuse: Grassland, Heathland

References cited

Author Publication Year Title Publication Place Publisher Pages Reference
Egan, G. and Pritchard, F. 2002 Dress Accessories, c.1150-c.1450 (Medieval Finds from Excavations in London) (2002) London HMSO p.254 pl. 1337
Evans, J. 1922 Magical jewels of the Middle Ages and the Renaissance, particularly in England Oxford Clarendon Press p. 126

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Timeline of associated dates

Audit data

Recording Institution: NCL
Created: About one year ago
Updated: 4 months ago

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