Emesa helmet

The Emesa helmet is a Roman cavalry helmet from the early first century AD. It consists of an iron head piece and face mask, the latter of which is covered in a sheet of silver. Decorations, some of which are gilded, adorn the head piece. Confiscated by Syrian police soon after looters discovered it amidst a complex of tombs in the modern-day city of Homs in 1936. Eventually the helmet was restored thoroughly at the British Museum, and is now in the collection of the National Museum of Damascus.

About Emesa helmet in brief

Summary Emesa helmetThe Emesa helmet is a Roman cavalry helmet from the early first century AD. It consists of an iron head piece and face mask, the latter of which is covered in a sheet of silver and presents the individualised portrait of a face, likely its owner. Decorations, some of which are gilded, adorn the head piece. Confiscated by Syrian police soon after looters discovered it amidst a complex of tombs in the modern-day city of Homs in 1936. Eventually the helmet was restored thoroughly at the British Museum, and is now in the collection of the National Museum of Damascus. It has been exhibited internationally, although as of 2017, due to the Syrian Civil War, the more valuable items are hidden in underground storage. The helmet was probably intended for both parades and battle. Its delicate covering is too fragile to have been put to use during cavalry tournaments, but the thick iron core would have defended against blows and arrows. Narrow slits for the eyes, with three small holes underneath to allow downward sight, sacrificed vision for protection. The acanthus scroll ornamentation seen on the neck guard recalls that used on Syrian temples, suggesting that the helmet may have been made in the luxury workshops of Antioch. As it is modelled after those helmets used in Roman tournaments, even if unlikely to have ever been worn in one, it could have been given by a Roman official to a Syrian general or, more likely, manufactured in Syria after the Roman style.

The head piece is made of iron, now rusted, and shows the rusted impression of what once was a woven and likely colourful or patterned fabric. From ear to ear around the forehead runs a gilded diadem in the image of a laurel wreath, a traditional symbol of victory. Above the centre of the diadem is a rosette; it shows a flower with two rows, each of six petals, and an outer beaded border, and the outer row of petals are in white silver. A narrow fluted strip serving as a crest, smooth silver with beaded edges, runs down the middle of the head Piece from the rosetTE to the neck Guard. The neck guard is covered with a decorative plate consisting of three horizontal designs, over the base of the skull, a large torus and ivy leaves. At the bottom of the neck, birds and butterflies are interspersed with birds and Portanthus rinceau, which are all gilded. In the middle, a smooth and transitional zone corresponds to the transitional zone of the helmet, giving its all of its silver, with all of the gold, giving the helmet a transitional feel. The entire helmet, the iron core of which was between 1 and 6 millimetres thick, weighs 2. 217 kg, of which the face mask comprises 982 g. The top contains a dent, and Shows the top and bottom of whatOnce was a weave of whatonce was a weaving of fabric.