Merovingian Silver and Carnelian Cicada Brooch, 5th Century AD
Cicada brooches are typical of the Hunnic styles (example) that spread across Europe as the Huns themselves moved and settled during the Migration period. They were particularly popular with peoples of eastern Germanic descent, being found predominantly in female graves. Fly shaped brooches were made in the Roman period in the second century AD, and it is likely cicada brooches are derived from Roman forms. During the Hunnic period the brooches are concentrated on the northern shores of the Black Sea, the Carpathian Basin and the Danube region from the fifth to the sixth centuries AD. The life cycle of the cicada and their apparently magical ability to regenerate themselves after long periods of hibernation was perhaps symbolic of the rebirth and regeneration of the soul.