Roman, modern-day Germany, Mainz-Weisenau, Gallic "G" type, Imperial Period, ca. first half of the 1st century CE. An exemplary steel Roman Gallic (abbreviated as "G") type Weisenau helmet of a hemispherical form bearing a pair of three-bar relief eyebrows flanking two petite riveted bosses, all beneath a second set of forked eyebrows above. The flared neck guard has a hammered rim with a relief band beneath a pair of horizontal occipital ridges and a chinstrap boss. Cut-away ear recesses rest behind a pair of hinged, cusped earflaps, each with three bosses, interior fastener rings, and a chased winged thunderbolt known as a fulmen - the emblem of Jupiter (Greek Zeus). A diagonal indentation across one of the forked upper brows indicates blade damage sustained during antiquity, perhaps during battle. Included is a forged-iron, single-edged dagger blade with a thick spine, a narrow tang, and a pointed tip. Size (helmet): 11.75" L x 8.75" W x 10.9" H (29.8 cm x 22.2 cm x 27.7 cm); 15.125" H (38.4 cm) on included custom stand; (blade) 8.6" L x 1" W (21.8 cm x 2.5 cm)
The Roman Gallic Weisenau helmet was once the most ubiquitous articles of arms and armor - other than a spatha or pugio - that was owned by members of the Roman legionaries. Also known as a galea or cassis, the "G" type Weisenau helmet was a dramatic improvement over the earlier Montefortino and Coolus helmet variants as it increased the protection given to a soldier along with the comfortability. The ear recesses mitigated the abrasions and overall pain a soldier would endure from an otherwise uniform lower rim, and the wider, longer neck guard increased the protection from one's rear. The riveted design and single-panel construction lowered the chances of certain helmet components failing, especially in the heat of battle, and the chased and relief decorations added an air of militaristic superiority to otherwise banal, utilitarian armaments.
Cf. an incredible example at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, accession number L.2018.52.2a-d; also the British Museum, museum number 1891,1117.1
Another very similar example made from tinned bronze hammered for GBP 86,250 ($118,335.00) at Christie's, London, South Kensington "The Art of Warfare: The Axel Guttman Collection Part I" auction (sale 9482, November 6, 2002, lot 95)
This piece has been searched against the Art Loss Register database and has been cleared. The Art Loss Register maintains the world's largest database of stolen art, collectibles, and antiques.
This piece has been tested for the presence or absence of particular elements via XRF elemental analysis. A full XRF report identifying the quantity of each element present in the sample will accompany purchase. The report certifies that the element composition is consistent with antiquity and will be included with the purchase.
Provenance: private Coral Gables, Florida, USA collection; ex-Gottlob Herbert Bidermann collection, Stuttgart/Aach, Germany, acquired before 1995
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Professional restoration, cleaning, and conservation to museum standards. Earflap hinge pins, earflap hinge plates within interior, and earflap bosses on exterior are modern replacements. A few indentations to top of helmet and neck guard, with perforations along back of neck guard and within blade strike damage on top of dome, some sanded areas along neck guard to reveal underlying steel, slight bending to neck guard, earflaps, and helmet brim, light encrustations and pitting to scattered areas, and minor softening to some chased and relief decorations. Earflaps articulate smoothly on modern hinge pins. Wonderful patina and stabilization material throughout. Iron blade has chips, nicks, and pitting to blade, spine, and tang. Nice patina throughout.