Tuesday, 29 November 2016

The Crosby Garrett Helmet

The Crosby Garrett Helmet is a copper alloy Roman cavalry helmet dating from the late 2nd or early 3rd century AD. It was found by a metal detectorist near Crosby Garrett in Cumbria, England, in May 2010. Later investigations found that a Romano-British farming settlement had occupied the site where the helmet was discovered, which was located a few miles away from a Roman road and a Roman army fort.

It is thought to have been used for ceremonial occasions rather than for combat, and may already have been an antique by the time it was buried. It's design may allude to the Trojans, whose exploits the Romans re-enacted in cavalry tournaments. Only two other Roman cavalry parade helmets complete with masks have turned up in Britain.

The Ribchester Helmet was found in 1796 and is held by the British Museum. The Newstead Helmet was found around 1905 and is kept at the Museum of Antiquities in Edinburgh.

The headpiece is shaped like a Phrygian cap with a winged griffin standing with one raised foot resting on an amphora. The griffin was the companion of Nemesis, the goddess of vengeance and fate. They were agents of death and were often linked with gladiatorial combat.

Statuette of Nemesis in the form of Female Griffin with Wheel of Fortune, 2nd century C.E
The helmet and visor were cast from an alloy of 82% copper, 10% zinc and 8% tin. On October 7 2010, the helmet was sold at Christie's for £2.3 million (US$3.6 million)

Architectural panel with a griffin Roman, about A.D. 175–200.