Two Ancient Roman Plates

 Bronze Military Diplomas And Other Sealed Documents

 (Until Feb. 29th 2017)



 This exhibition features an extraordinary set of Roman military plates from AD 109. Bronze plates such as these, known as military diplomas, were used for granting Roman citizenship and military honors to soldiers retiring after twenty-five years of service.

Exhibit Composition:

    • Roman Military Diplomas
    • Trajan Coins
    • Other Ancient Sealed Documents: clay tablets, papyrus & parchment scrolls, wooden tablets, and metal plates

   What Significance Do the Plates Have for Latter-day Saints?

Beyond the fact that these plates offer one of the world’s finest examples of ancient writing on metal plates, several specific physical similarities evoke comparisons between these Roman bronze plates and the gold plates from which Joseph Smith translated the Book of Mormon: their comparable size and thickness, use of alloyed metal and binding rings, with one part open and the other part sealed.

The combination of these factors make these doubled, sealed, and witnessed Roman plates from the second-century ad relevant to the fourth-century ad Book of Mormon plates described long before in 2 Nephi 27. As recent discoveries now show, this pattern of documentary preservation, implemented in various media, was widely recognized in several ancient Near Eastern and Mediterranean civilizations.

Exhibit open in the David O. McKay Library│ Special Collections McKay 220

Monday - Friday 9:00AM – 5:00PM