Archaeological Collection

Jewellery with Christian symbols

Jewellery with Christian symbols
Item name:Jewellery with Christian symbols
Dating:5th and 6th c.
Findspot:Various sites
On display:Medieval Stories from the Crossroads


Brooches in the shape of a peacock were very popular among the Romans. The mythological roots of the peacock motif date back to ancient Greece, when a peacock was believed to have been the sacred animal of the goddess Hera. As the Roman religion accepted the principal Greek gods into its pantheon, Juno, identified with Hera, was depicted in the company of a peacock. In Early Christianity, the peacock came to symbolise immortality. The territory also yielded several brooches in the shape of birds. These are either high-quality cast objects or simple imitation in sheet metal. The cast peacock-shaped brooch was found at Bled (1), while the sheet metal brooch in the shape of a pigeon (2) came from the hilltop settlement on Sv. Lambert near Pristava nad Stično. The gold pendant with a monogrammatic cross is an Early Byzantine product made in the filigree technique (7). The brooch with an incised cross on the foot (3) shares the same origin, and was typically worn during the 6thcentury in the Danube Basin and the Balkans. Cross-shaped plate brooches (4-6) are common in the northern Adriatic and eastern Alpine regions. The variant of the brooch with pointed arms, one of which was found at Ajdovski gradec above Vranje (5), was particularly fashionable among the Roman population on the territory of the present-day Slovenia.


1. Brooch in the shape of a peacock, bronze and iron, l. 5.3 cm, Pristava in Bled, Grave 252, Inv. No. S 515.

2. Brooch in the shape of a pigeon, bronze, l. 4.68 cm, Sv. Lambert near Pristava nad Stično, Inv. No. S 2487.

3. Brooch with a cross and an inscription, bronze and iron, l. 4.98 cm, vicinity of Ljubljana, Inv. No. S 2691.

4. Brooch in the shape of a cross, bronze, h. 3.82 cm, Gradec near Velika Strmica, Inv. No. S 3403.

5. Brooch in the shape of a cross, bronze, glass and iron, h. 4.16 cm, Ajdovski gradec above Vranje near Sevnica, between Houses A and C, Inv. No. R 12118.

6. Brooch in the shape of a cross, bronze, h. 2.9 cm, Sv. Lambert near Pristava nad Stično, Inv. No. S 3400.

7. Pendant, gold, h. 1.75 cm, Šentjurski hrib above Tržišče, Inv. No. S 2686.

Further reading

Knific, Timotej in Nabergoj, Tomaž, 2016: Medieval Stories from the Crossroads, Ljubljana, Fig. 18, pp. 24, 25, 219.

On display in the Permanent Exhibition