“This helmet is too big”
How many times did you say it, maybe trying a helmet to a fair, looking at the measures of a helmet from our website or maybe receiving one and discovering, after wearing it, that apparently it was too big for your head?
If historically, really tight fitting helmets were a thing in certain context, it has not always been the case. Often we find helmet measures (taking for granted ancient people had more or less the same skull size we have now) that denotes very large helmets, sometimes even bigger of what we would consider a normal size L.
Concerning Italian helmets, this has a long tradition, maybe going back to some of the organic helmets of the Villanovan culture. To adequately protect the head, it was in fact necessary to add a good, thick padding, to put a distance between the surface of the helmet (on which enemy blows could impact) from the skull and to absorb blunt hits.
A much similar concept of the modern motorcycle helmet, so to speak.
This concept of the large helmet is vividly visible in Montefortino helmets, which usually are the ones upon which reenactors usually are lamenting a “too big” size.
Here below we report some example from “Antike Helme“, without pretending they represent every helmet of this kind, but knowing that they are a good casuistry of Montefortino helmets.
As you will notice, the dimensions of these helmets usually vary from ca. 23×19 cm (or a bit less) to ca. 25×21 cm (so, even bigger than our replicas).
But maybe the most important example is a Montefortino helmet from Pizzighettone and now in Cremona. It’s a helmet that may be linked to the events around Clastidium and Acerrae, dated to 222 BC.
The external measures of the axis of this helmet are 26×22 cm, with an height of 25 cm.
A Montefortino type Coarelli D…which has the same precise measures of our Coarelli D size L, the inner size of which is 23×19 cm.
To know more about the chronology and types of Montefortino helmets, read also Montefortino type helmets. A chronology
So, how should a Montefortino helmet properly sit on the head, to give a realistic effect compared to archaeological specimens?
Considering, as we saw, that a Montefortino isn’t for sure a “cap” or a second skin, but rather more something like a motorcycle helmet with a good padding, a Montefortino should probably sit like this (and maybe a bit higher on the head):