So far, the nature of the various objects described has been sufficiently obvious. In the case of some of those that follow, the difficulties of interpretation are more serious. Thus, in Pit XXII there were found, in association with the helmets, nine discs of thin bronze (Plate XXXI.). Eight of these are circular, and the remaining one may be described as lenticular or kidney shaped. The measurements of the circular pieces are as follows: four of them are 4 inches in diameter, one 338; inches, one 4½ inches, and two 378 inches. The greatest length of the kidney-shaped pieces is 3¼ inches, its greatest width 2 inches. That all were intended to be worn together seems certain from the circumstance that each has inscribed upon it the name of a man—DOMETIUS or probably DOMITIUS ATTICUS—whose dress they doubtless adorned. Nomen and cognomen have been scratched in two lines in cursive characters, ownership being indicated by the use of the genitive case—DOMETI ATTICI. On one of the discs the nomen DOMETI stands alone. On another the spelling is DMETI, while on yet another the cognomen appears as ATICI. All of the discs are furnished with small bronze rivets which were evidently used to fasten them to leather. At one end of the rivet is a small round washer, whose purpose has clearly been to prevent the rivet slipping out of its place. The larger discs have six rivets, the two smaller only four. The kidney-shaped piece has five.

Names on the back

With one exception the name of the owner is inscribed on the same side as that on which the washers are, and therefore on the back next the leather. In the case of the exception—one of the two smaller discs—the holes appear to have been altered, while the position of the rivets (which are somewhat longer) has been reversed so that the name appears on the other side from the washers. The occurrence of these names is an interesting illustration of a well-known custom. Vegetius tells us that the Roman soldier used to inscribe his name together with that of his cohort or century on the back of his shield.[1] The same pit provided another series of objects which exemplified this practice even more fully.

What purpose did the bronze discs we have been describing serve? Their number and shape at once recall the phalerae of the monuments. The phalerae were a series of round metal plates worn on the breast on a light framework of leather. In the representations which have survived they are Sometimes highly decorated and sometimes plain. They were classed among

1 Praeterea et in averso scuto uniusculusque militis litteris erat nomen adscriptum, addito et ex qua esset cohorte quave centuria. Vegetius, Epit. rei milit. ii. 18