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B R I G H A M   Y O U N G   U N I V E R S I T Y
L. Tom Perry Special Collections Exhibit
Image of 2 ancient Roman plates

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.

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These two plates were issued by imperial decree on October 14, AD 109 during the rule of emperor Trajan in Rome.

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