Our hypothetical reconstruction of the helmet of Marcus Caelius, centurion primipilus who died at the age of 53 during the Germanic attack in the Teutoburg forest (9 AD).
Marcus Caelius was born in modern-day Bologna. We only have a cenotaph dedicated by his brother, in which he’s depicted. On the funerary monument, Marcus Caelius is represented with his military equipment, with the vitis in his hand and with one of the most precious military decorations of the Roman army: the corona civica (civic crown).
This may be obtained only by saving another Roman citizen on the battlefield.
Of all the pieces of the military gear represented, the most important one for a soldier seems to be missing: the helmet.
So, we decided to reconstruct it.
The chosen helmet is an Imperial Gallic A (or Weisenau-Nijmegen type), developed from Gallic models during the reign of Augustus.
The transverse crest, the most powerful symbol of a centurion along with his vitis, sports feathers of a purple colour, to best represent the rank of Marcus Caelius as a primipilus.
Finally, the crown. This highly precious piece was most probably also worn on the helmet (just like other centurions and legionaries probably had their precious phalerae on the battlefield, as it may be inferred from the sources).
We have a wide range of archaeological source, from the Hellenistic period to the Principate, which shows embossed crowns of leaves on helmets.
However, in visual sources like mosaics and statues, crowns of metallic leaves seem to appear also as a separate piece from the helmet (e.g. a famous bust of Pyrrhus).
So, to make the crown a piece that may have been used also on the battlefield, we realized our corona civica in gildened iron.
Helmet made of steel.
Crest: feathers, plaster, embossed brass by hand.
Crown: gildened iron.
Helmet size: ca. 22.5×18.5 cm
Does this helmet fit your head? Check it with our guide How to take measurement for your helmet.
Weight ca. 2 kg
Helmet made in India.
A customization by Res Bellica.
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