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Galea -- Helmet

Last Updated: 10-07-13

The helmet is probably one of the most distinguishable elements of any period or any army.  The Roman Galea (Latin for helmet) is no different.  Throughout the Roman period there have been many styles ranging from the Greek Corinthian and Attic styles to the late Roman Itercisa.  Each one of these styles were designed for a unique purpose.  Each one made with very different materials and elements.

For the time period that Legio VI recreates we accept the helmets from the Imperial-Gallic series A through H, Coolus series C through G, and Imperial-Italic series A through D.  While most of the helmets that are listed, and accepted by Legio VI, are readily available from Deepeeka the rest can be done by custom armorers on request. 
 
When making the decision on which helmet to wear would like for you to choose a helmet that fits your interests and not a helmet that everyone else is wearing.  The Gallic G and H helmets are over used by reenactors all over the world.  We are not saying that you can not get one of these for your impression just that you have other options. 

A red asterisk on both sides of the helmet *letter* indicates it is readily available to the reenacting community.

Coolus:
 
*C*: This helmet is dated to the late first century BC to the early first century AD.  This helmet has been found in Zurich, Zagreb, and Oberaden.
 
*D*: This helmet is dated to the first half of the first century AD.  This helmet has been found in Bonn, Leiden, Nijmegen, Mainz, Xanten, and Haltren.
 
*E*: This helmet is dated to the first half of the first century AD.  This helmet has been found in London, St. Alban's, Haltren, Zagreb, Belgrade, Bonn, Texel, Leiden, Xanten, and Nijmegen.
 
F: This helmet is dated to the first half of the first century AD.  This helmet has been found in Sussex.
 
*G*: This helmet is dated to the third quarter of the first century AD.  This helmet has been found in Burlafingen, Leiden, and Hagenau.

Imperial - Gallic:
 
*A*: This helmet is dated to the late first century BC to early first century AD.  This helmet has been found in Nijmegen, Worms, and Spain.
 
*B*: This helmet is dated to the first quarter of the first century AD.  This helmet has been found in Sisak, the Guttmann collection, and Cologne.
 
*C*: This helmet is dated to the first quarter of the first century AD.  This helmet has been found in Zagreb, Krefeld, and Madrid.
 
D: This helmet is dated to the first quarter of the first century AD.  This helmet has been found in Mainz, and Bucharest.
 
E: This helmet is dated to the middle of the first century AD.  This helmet has been found in Amsterdam, Vienna, and Munster.
 
*F*: This helmet is dated to the second quarter of the first century AD.  This helmet has been found in Besancon, Mainz, Zagreb, Xanten, Nijmegen, Cologne, and Windisch.
 
*G*: This helmet is dated to the third quarter of the first century AD.  This helmet has been found in Worms, Madrid, Windisch, Colchester, Munster and Mainz.
 
*H*: This helmet is dated to the third quarter of the first century AD.  This helmet has been found in Augsburg.

Imperial - Italic:
 
*A*: This helmet is dated to the first half and the first century AD.  This helmet has been found in Naples.
 
*B*: This helmet is dated to the second quarter of the first century AD.  This helmet has been found in Zagreb.
 
*C*: This helmet is dated to the third quarter of the first century AD.  This helmet has been found in Cremona, Mainz, and in the Guttmann collection.
 
*D*: This helmet is dated to the second half of the first century AD.  This helmet has been found in Worms and Krefeld.


 
Here is what “Roman Military Equipment: From the Punic Wars to the Fall of Rome” by M.C. Bishop & J.C.N. Coulston has to say about the Galea.
 
Perhaps one of the best attested forms of Roman equipment from this period, the helmet can be seen to have had a number of different traditions which gradually began to blend.  However, helmet studies are hindered, rather than furthered, by the various systems of classification in use: continetal scholars preferring a clumsy type-site nomenclature, and the British using Robinson's inflexible scheme (with its implied linearity of development).  The essential characteristics of the helmets introduced in the 1st century AD were a bowl and broad, ribbed neck-guard manufactured in one piece, a browguard, and large hinged cheek-pieces.  Helmets now also began to feature cut-outs on the side of the bowl for the ears, some even having added ear-protectors.  The browguard and ribbing on the neck were probably designed to counter (or at least hinder) slashing blows travelling downwards, whilst the neck-guard quite clearly protected the back of the head and shoulders.
 
The Coolus and Montefortino types continued from the Republic, whilst the Imperial-Gallic (also known as 'Weisenau') and Imperial-Italic types soon came to the fore, so that a trend towards a deeper neck and broader neck-guard is detectable amongst the better-dated pieces.  The earliest piece that is recognisably Roman was found in an Augustan grave at Nigmegen, but there are a number of similar helmets from undated contexts which appear to belong to the same stage of development.  However, examples of the Agen-Port type of helmets, although technically pre-Roman, may well have been used by Celtic auxiliaries in the service of the Romans,  and this would provide a likely mechanism for the introduction of this helmet to the regular soldiers of the legions.
 
The Imperial-Gallic helmet was usually (but not exclusively) manufactured of iron, the bowl having to be beaten out over a former.  It was characterized by a pair of stylized eyebrows on the front of the helmet bowl.  Trimmed with brass piping and decorated with brass bosses (sometimes enamelled), these are amongst the finest helmets produced by the Romans.  Imperial-Italic helmets, on the other hand, lacked the quality of finish displayed by their Imperial-Gallic counterparts, although they had many of the same design tendencies.  Crests could be fitted to helmets, for which purpose a forked crest-box holder could be slide or twistedinto a plate on top of the bowl, and plume-tubes on the side of the bowl could receive decorative plumes.  No example of a crest-box has survived from this period, but we know how wide they must have been from the crest-box holders.  Nor, curiously enough, have any fittings been identified that might have belonged to the transverse crest worn by centurions.  Many helmets, both iron and copper-alloy, were tinned or silvered.
 
When not in use, helmets might be protected by leather covers and an example enclosed in this way has been found at Vindonissa. 


 
Recomended Suppliers:
 
Soul of the Warrior: Sells all Deepeeka helmets.
 
Ancient Empire Reproductions: Sells very nice and accurate helmets that are not typically found elsewhere.  **Overseas Company**
 
Armamentaria: Sells all Deepeeka helmets and several exclusive helmets made for him by DSC.  **Overseas Company**
 
Manning Imperial:  Has some very detailed and custom made helmets.  **Overseas Company**

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