The roman legionary, unlike many of his opponents, could depend upon a collection issue of uniform kit, consisting of a stout metal helmet called a galea.

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The architecture of the helmet progressed through time, the Romans were an excellent improvers, and they were made for various ranks and to meet different threats.


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While the Roman’s pioneered near-industrial processes, this equipment was do by hand, usually close to where it was needed, and also would have had actually many regional and an individual idiosyncrasies. Early helmets to be hammered into shape from large sheets of metal.

It’s vital to remember that we do not have accessibility to the design of Roman military equipment. What we know is based on what us find, and also what composed accounts and also illustrations have survived the nearly 2,000 years due to the fact that the realm fell. That is a partial record at best. Here are five Roman soldiers’ helmets:

1. The Montefortino helmet

If the Romans experienced something that worked they had actually no uncertainty in acquisition it for their own. This an innovative theft was one of their greatest strengths, and the Montefortino helmet is simply one of numerous examples of armed forces plagiarism.

The Celts wore the initial Montefortino helmets, which are named after the Italian an ar where they were an initial found by contemporary archaeologists. It was in use between 300 BC and 100 AD, including during the Pyrrhic battles and against Hannibal’s mighty Carthaginian armies.


A montefortino helmet.

It’s a simple design, a globe chopped in two, though part variants are much more conical. The knob in ~ the top of the helmet may, in part cases, have been the anchor for feather or other decoration. The shelf protruding in ~ one next of the helmet is not a peak however a neck guard. Few cheek or face guards survive, yet holes for attaching lock do, they may have actually been made of less long lasting material.

To the Celts who very first used them, the helmet to be a prized items to be decorated and also individually styled. One means of identify Roman examples is by their lack of visual appeal – they were mass created from brass and designed to be cost-effective and also effective.

You only need to look at pictures of American GIs during world War II, to watch that this basic design was obtaining the fundamentals right.


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2 . The royal helmet

After the Montefortino came the very comparable Coolus helmet, which was replaced by the imperial helmet indigenous the first century BC.

It is visibly much more sophisticated, and also a whole series of subsequent galea till the 3rd century are classified by chroniclers as subtypes the the Imperial.

The imperial Gallic classification gives a clue to its origins in a design lifted indigenous the Gauls that the Romans combated in Julius Caesar’s Gallic wars of 58 – 50 BC.

An eyebrow design of embossed metal marks the front of the helmet, which does now have actually a peak. The neck guard is now sloping through a ridged ar where it joins the main headpiece. Cheek guards no longer dangle top top rings however are almost contiguous with the helmet and made of the same steel – frequently iron with brass decorations.

Where the Montefortino and also Coolus to be utilitarian, the makers of royal helmets made much more decorative touches.

3. The ridged helmet

Learning as they increased their territories, the Romans come up against a ferocious adversaries in the Dacian battles of Emperor Trajan at the turn of the second century.

Dacia is a region of eastern Europe that at times included contemporary day Romania and also Moldova, and parts that Serbia, Hungary, Bulgaria and also Ukraine.

Trajan’s Column, a richly-carved triumphal item of style that quiet stands in Rome, is just one of the most essential sources we have on the roman military.

The Dacians used a long, hooked sword dubbed a falx the was qualified of cutting through the royal helmet. Legionaries in the ar took their own precautions through riveting stole bars throughout the top of their helmets and they soon became standard issue.


Re-enactors put on ridged helmets.

 4. The late roman inn ridge helmet

The arrival of the Late roman ridge helmet in ~ the finish of the third century marked the finish of the imperial type.Again, Rome’s enemies wore castle first, this time the soldiers the the Sassanid Empire, a pre-Islamic Iranian empire.

These brand-new helmets were made from several pieces the metal, commonly either two or four, which to be joined along a ridge. The two-piece helmets had smaller faceguards and also weren’t rimmed by the big ring at the base that attribute in four-piece helmets.


An ornate late roman inn ridge helmet.

They space the an initial Roman helmets to feature a sleep guard and they might have had actually an under-helm to which the confront guards were attached. A neck guard, possibly of mail, to be attached to the helmet through leather straps.Most that the instances that have survived are spectacularly decorated, often with priceless metals and with attachments in the ridge to permit for a stakes to it is in fixed. They are thought to have been worn by both cavalry and infantry.

This form of helmet wasn’t only embraced by the Romans. Named the Spangenhelm – a German word – the ridged helmet concerned some of the European tribes the Romans fought against by a different route. The spectacular Sutton Hoo helmet, discovered in an Anglo Saxon ship burial of the early on 7th century, is the this type.


The Sutton Hoo helmet.

 5. The Praetorian helmet

Our ahead helmets were worn by the rank and file, however this sports illustrates the duty of the helmet in delineating ranking within the roman army.

The Praetorian Guard were the bodyguards of generals (praetor method general) and then emperors. The choosing of the best troops as bodyguards, originally for their project tent, was an important safeguard for roman inn generals, who could face the swords of their countrymen and also barbarian foes.

From 23 ad they were, in theory, at the command of the Emperor, and were crucial player in politics disputes, based together they were just exterior the city that Rome. They came to be so troublesome the they to be relieved of your special status in 284 ad and in 312 ad their roman fortress to be demolished through Constantine the Great.

The Arch the Claudius, built in 51 ad to memory the invasion of Britain, reflects the safety wearing distinctive helmets with big (almost definitely horsehair) crests.


Detail native Proclaiming Claudius Emperor by Lawrence Alma-Tadema showing the Praetorian guard v their distinctive helmets.

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This may have been creative invention, but it is thought that high condition soldiers could and also did it is provided their own kit and also decorate it. Centurions might have had front-to-back crests on your helmets for example.