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Home > Auctions > 21st February 2023 > Roman Legionary Helmet with Wings of Jupiter

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LOT 0237

Sold for (Inc. bp): £52,000

16 1/8 in. (2.38 kg total, 29 cm high (41 cm including stand)).

A tinned sheet-bronze legionary helmet of Imperial Gallic Type A with deep rounded bowl, simple C-shaped cut-outs for the ears, integral flared neck-guard extending some way along the sides, corrugated ribs to the occipital area at the rear and corrugated 'wings' or eyebrows (Russel-Robinson's Type E) above the brow; small stud the rear of the neck-guard attaching suspension loops to the underside; hinged bracket at each temple for a deeply curved cheek-guard with gently flared rim, bearing a loop to the inner face to accept an vinculum fastening strap; accompanied by a custom-made display stand.

From a West Coast, USA, arms and armour family collection; thence by descent.

Accompanied by an academic report by Dr Raffaele D'Amato.
This lot has been checked against the Interpol Database of stolen works of art and is accompanied by search certificate number no.11585-199847.

Cf. Robinson, R., The Armour of Imperial Rome, New York, 1975; Junkelmann, M., Römische Helme, Mainz, 2000, pp.138-141; Christie's, The Axel Guttmann Collection of Ancient Arms and Armour, part 1, London, 2002, pp.120-121, no.95; D'Amato, R., Arms and Armour of the Imperial Roman Soldier, London, 2009, fig.134, p.115; the helmet finds good parallels with helmets of the same typology in the Axel Guttmann collection, nos. AG501 and AG600 (Junkelmann, 2000, figs.65-70, pls.XII,XIII); D’Amato, R., Roman Centurions 31 B.C.-A.D. 500, The Classical and Late Empire, Oxford, 2012.

This important and well-preserved helmet (Cassis) belongs to a small and rare group of helmets of the Weisenau type (modern term). The development of this helmet formed the main category of legionary helmets in 1st and 2nd centuries A.D. This early category was characterised by a very high hemispherical calotte and a slightly sloping, narrow neck guard. They were fitted with a pair of prominent curved eyebrows (symbolising the wings of Jupiter’s thunderbolts) flanking two rivetted bosses.