Lot 2460: A Roman bronze infantry helmet, Weisenau type, 2nd half of 1st - early 2nd century
October 26, 2016
Munich, Bavaria, GermanyLive Auction
Description: Hemispherical skull with ear cutouts, the posterior half extending circa 2 cm further down towards the flaring neck guard. Ear protectors attached to the ear cutouts with three rivets on each side, the right one damaged, the left one complete. In front of the ear cutouts a horizontally ridged bronze sheet-metal strip of circa 2 cm width was originally attached to the lower rim with three rivets, of which a fragment is preserved on the left of the forehead's centre. The rivets immediately in front of the ear cutouts were used to affix both the bronze sheet-metal strip and a sheet-metal lug with a rolled end, which constituted the central joint area of a bar hinge to attach the cheek pieces. The outer joint areas on the upper edges of the cheek pieces are made from sheet-metal strips. All three joint areas together held an iron bar, of which remnants are preserved in the outer joint areas of the left cheek piece. Both outer joint areas of the left cheek piece with antique repairs, the front one completely replaced by a clamp made from a strip of sheet metal attached by two crude rivets. Originally, only one rivet was used. The cheek pieces with ear cutouts at the back, at the front two cutouts for eye area and mouth. On the inside stepped profile adapted to the contours. The edges reinforced by strips of bronze sheet metal bent to both sides. The vertical lines on the outside of the cheek pieces are visible original signs of straightening the metal sheet. Cheek pieces unmounted due to the defective hinge bars, on the inside recently furnished with strips of bronze sheet metal in matching colour for attachment to the helmet interior with bars recently glued in. Above the left cheek piece two rivets originally used to repair an antique crack from the inside with strips of sheet metal. The lower end of the skull with three-stepped profile behind the ear protectors. A horizontal neck guard of 10 to 11 cm width extends at the rear with two steps after the bend at the bottom of the skull. The outer step with two curved "wings" indented in the middle. The edge of the neck guard finely serrated and furnished with three sheet-metal clamps riveted to the centre and the sides. The latter presumably served to affix an edge trim made from non-preserved material. An omega-shaped handle attached to the centre of the neck guard with two pins. Immediately in front a sheet-metal lug that holds a small ring is riveted to the bottom. This and two equally fixed rings on the inside of the lower part of the cheek pieces served as triple suspension for tying the helmet with a leather strap. In the centre of the skull crest a tapered, lathed and fluted knob with transversal slit and vertical perforation to attach the plume. Halfway between forehead and crest a massive peak attached to the skull with central pin and affixed with rivets at the disc ends. Skull and neck guard with several cracks, reinforced with synthetic material primarily from the inside and in some places from the outside. The skull interior stabilised with gauze in the upper section. Dark brown and green oxides on a golden surface shimmering through in multiple places. Diameter of skull 18.7 x 21.7 cm. Height of cheek pieces 15.8 and 17.5 cm. Height of skull including crest knob 17.5 cm. Depth of helmet from the forehead rim to the edge of the neck guard 33.8 cm. Helmet of Weisenau type in the rare bronze version, almost completely preserved in all essential parts. With numerous, interesting technical details of manufacture and antique repair. Magnificent specimen from a prominent collection. From the collection Axel Guttmann (AG 502). Published in Markus Junkelmann, "Römische Helme. Sammlung Axel Guttmann", volume VIII, Mainz. p. 127f. and p. 131, plate XI. Cf. also Hermann Historica, auction 49 of 19 October 2005, lot 176.
Condition Report: II - III
Notes: Römisches Reich