WMID-746CF7: A Roman disc brooch

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Unique ID: WMID-746CF7

Object type certainty: Certain
Workflow status: Published Find published

An incomplete copper alloy enamelled disc brooch dating to the Roman period (c. AD 80-250). The brooch is round in plan and flat in profile. The face of the brooch has been stamped with an inscription across two lines reading: SIA // MAS. A raised horizontal ridge separates the top line of lettering from the bottom line. Some traces of red enamel adhere to the face of the brooch around the letters. The reverse of the object is undecorated with a few vertical scratches possibly from filing. An integral lug and the remains of a catchplate are evident but the spring and pin are now missing. The brooch has a mid-green patina.

The overall dimensions are as follows: 19.65mm in diameter, 5.13mm in thickness and 2.15g in weight.


A number of enamelled disc brooches have been recorded on the PAS database though none with an inscription, making this object a find of note.

According to Sally Worrell (National Finds Advisor) the inscription translates to 'if you love me'. Worrell (2018, pers. comm.) writes: it's basially a love-token. A brooch from Richborough suggests what the response could be in an equally romantic: SI AMAS EGO PLUS - 'I love you more'. Not a common find at all.

John Pearce (Senior Lecturer in Archaeology, Kings College London) also added a provisional note on the text:

The text is formed by letters cast in relief on an enamelled background in two short lines: SIA / MAS, which can be read as 'si amas', literally to be translated as 'if you love'. This is typical of a group of romantic texts where the reader must supply further words to make complete sense of the text. Longer texts on other rings and brooches give some possibilities for what form a more fully phrased text might have taken in a recipient's mind. One is 'Si amas, ego plus', i.e. 'if you love (me), I love (you) more', on a brooch from Richborough for example with an evocative re-creation of romantic scenarios behind it by Catherine Johns (1996: 158; RIB II.3, 2421.50). Others include 'Escipe si amas', i.e 'Take (this gift) if you love (me)' (e.g. an S-shaped brooch from Treignes, Namur, Belgium) or 'Escipe si amas pignus amoris', i.e. 'If you love (me), take this token of my love', quite widely attested (e.g. a bronze ring from Matagne la Petite, Namur, Belgium: Fontaine 2012, nos 5 and 7).

Fontaine, P. 2012. 'Quelques inscriptions latines sur instrumentum au Musée archéologique de Namur', Annales de la Société Archéologique de Namur 86, 11-36

Johns, C. 1996. The Jewellery of Roman Britain, London: Batsford

John Pearce 13.07.18

Find of note status

This has been noted as an interesting find by the recorder.

Class: Disc
Inscription: SIA // MAS

Subsequent actions

Subsequent action after recording: Returned to finder


Broad period: ROMAN
Period from: ROMAN
Period to: ROMAN
Date from: Circa AD 80
Date to: Circa AD 250

Dimensions and weight

Quantity: 1
Thickness: 5.13 mm
Weight: 2.15 g
Diameter: 19.65 mm

Personal details

Found by: This information is restricted for your login.
Recorded by: Dr Susheela Burford
Identified by: Dr Susheela Burford
Secondary identifier: Ms Sally Worrell

Materials and construction

Primary material: Copper alloy
Manufacture method: Cast
Completeness: Incomplete
Surface Treatment: Stamped

Spatial metadata

Region: East Midlands (European Region)
County or Unitary authority: Northamptonshire (County)
District: Kettering (District)
Parish or ward: Orton (Civil Parish)

Spatial coordinates

4 Figure: SP8079
Four figure Latitude: 52.40317302
Four figure longitude: -0.825524
1:25K map: SP8079
1:10K map: SP87NW
Grid reference source: Centred on parish
Unmasked grid reference accurate to a 100 metre square.

Discovery metadata

Method of discovery: Metal detector
General landuse: Cultivated land

References cited

No references cited so far.

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Timeline of associated dates

Audit data

Recording Institution: WMID
Created: 5 months ago
Updated: 4 months ago

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