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Lauersforter Phalerae, Burg Linn Museum Center , Krefeld
Marcus Caelius in the jewelry of his awards

The phalerae (Latin only handed down in the plural; Greek plural τὰ φάλαρα tà phálara "the metal humps", singular phálaron ) are round plates made of gold, silver or another metal with raised decorations or engravings in Greco-Roman antiquity . According to Suetonius , it was originally a custom of foreign peoples, but the Romans took it over from the Etruscans , where the phalerae were used as a military decoration for demonstrated bravery and were worn on the front of the chest.

They can be traced on numerous monuments and many of them have been preserved in the original. In addition to simple decorations, gods and images of a king or an emperor are shown. The nobles wore these phalerae as jewelry on their chests, the soldiers received them as military decorations , and they were also used as jewelry for horses. The odd number was held together on the body by a belt system, wide straps that ran around the upper body. If they were worn as necklaces, other pieces of jewelry, such as crescent moons or bells, could hang on the metal bosses. The bearer of the Phalerae is called Phaleratus .

See also


  • Homer , Iliad , 16, 106 where they are used to protect and adorn leather helmets.
  • Titus Livy 9:46
  • Polybios , 6, 39, 3, where the foot soldier receives a phial and the rider receives the phalerae for his performance.
  • Silius Italicus 15, 255 ( phaleris hic pectora fulget, hic torque aurato circumdat bellica colla, seine nitet celsus muralis honore coronae. )
  • Virgil Aeneid 9, 359; 5, 310


  • Friedrich Matz : The Lauersforter Phalerae . De Gruyter, Berlin 1932.

Web links

Commons : Military decoration of Rome  - album with pictures, videos and audio files


  1. ^ Suetonius, Nero 30 .
  2. Florus 1, 5, 6 .
  3. Silius Italicus 15, 255 .