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4th Century Roman helmet crest

Material  Bronze/copper
Dimensions 10.3cm long x 4.1cm wide

Circle decoration diameter 11mm

Ridge width: 14mm

Ridge Height: 12mm

Roman Empire Late 4th, early 5th Century AD

A fragment of a late 4th Century Roman helmet.  This fragment is the Ridge portion of the helmet.  It is about a 1/4 of the length of the original one, and would have secured the two helmet halves together in the center.

This piece appears to have been silvered, and was not covered in a silver or gold sheathing, as some more famous helmet were. 

There are punched concentric circle decorations that run along the edge in between the rivet holes.  The front center hole appears to have either been where the nasal section was riveted on, or perhaps where a Chi Rho crest was fasened to (such as shown on this original piece).  A set of punched lines run along the base of the ridge, providing a nice decorative highlight. The first two rivet holes near the top of the fragment show where the Ridge would have been riveted to the helmet base.

A nice green patina covers the piece, and the underside still has remnants of the water encrustations.

This is a rare piece, as most of the helmets had an Iron core and therefore very few survive today.  It is unknown if this piece was simple a bronze accent acting as the ridge portion of an otherwise Iron helmet, or if the entire helmet was in Bronze.  A part of a bronze helmet was sold in the Guttmann collection (see below), however I do nor know of any other bronze examples.

Guttmann Example

Similar helmet examples showing the Ridge area, from Koblenz & Augsburg

Click on Pictures for higher resolution

Close Up View

Front View

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(1) References to similar items: KOCSIS, Laszlo; A New Late Roman Helmet, 2003.

(2) Reference to similar items: PRINS, Jelle; The Fortune of a Late Roman Officer, page 52-53, 1998.

(3) Reference to similar items: BISHOP, M.C & COULSTON, J.C.N; Roman Military Equipment "From the Punic wars to the Fall of Rome", page 210 2006.

(4) Reference to similar items: MIKS, Christian; Von Prunstuck zum Altmetall, Ein Depot Spatromischer Helmteile aus Koblenz, RGZM, 2008

**Note on background. Close up view of the wall of the Colosseum of Pula, Croatia. Picture taken 2014