The Hildesheim Treasure

"But, good heavens, Pompeius Paulinus, the son of a Knight of Rome in Arles and descended on his father's side from a tribe that went clad in skins, to our knowledge had 12,000 pounds of silver plate with him when on service with an army confronted by tribes of the greatest ferocity." (Pliny, Natural History XXXIII.143)

In 1868, while they were constructing earthwork defenses for the town of Hildesheim, in Germany, the Hanoverian infantrymen uncovered a remarkable silver dining service. It comprised 60 silver vessels ranging in size from massive mixing bowls (kraters) to small cups, and included a number of elaborate centerpieces. It is thought to have been the property of a Roman Commander campaigning against Germanic tribes on the frontier of the Empire during the years of the 1st century A.D.


  1. 1) Oliver, A., 1977: Silver of the Gods, 130-131 (Toledo: Toledo Museum of Art).
  2. 2) Stefanelli, L.P.B., 1991: L'Argento dei Romani, 68-71 and plates 169-171 (Rome: "L'Erma" di Bretschneider).