Page 1 of 1

Question about a Roman helmet

PostPosted: Mon Nov 20, 2017 7:38 am
by Gnaeus Iulius Caesar

I'm new to Roman reenacting and I've recently acquired a imperial Gallic helmet. It has no interior webbing or a way to tie the side flaps. What did the Romans wear under their helmets and how did they tie it?

Re: Question about a Roman helmet

PostPosted: Mon Nov 20, 2017 10:15 am
by Titus Flavius Severus
Severus sal.,

Greetings to you, Caesar. We, those who are engaged in historical reenactment, do not write in this group and do not answer here, so if in the future you have questions, then you can contact them with experienced reenactors here.


However, as an exception, I will be happy to answer your question here. Unfortunately, I do not know how English denotes what is worn under a helmet, so I will use the literal in front of the Russian language: "underhelmet". Conditionally, all types of "underhelmet" can be divided into just two types, these are "sewn" "underhelmet" and "separate".

For "sewn" "underhelmet" on the helmet itself, there must be holes. Thus, the presence or absence of such holes on the dome of the helmet is a clear indicator of which type of "underhelmet" was used. Given the number of finds of Roman helmets of the Gallic imperial type, it can be provisionally said that the "sewn" "underhelmet" were not used in them. In addition, from experience, I can say that the "sewn" "underhelmet" are not very convenient, they quickly absorb sweat and dirt, then they start to smell badly, and it will take a certain time to replace such a "underhelmet".

Thus, taking into account the above, it is obvious that in the overwhelming majority, the Romans used the "separate" type of the "underhelmet". What was it like? This type of "underhelmet" is a felt cap, in the form of a hemisphere. Felt has damping properties. Particles felt are found in some excavated helmets, mention of such caps is found in literature, fine arts, in addition, it was a very common Greek practice, where, apparently, the Romans adopted this custom.

Here is an example for clarity:


I hope that the 11th Legion answered your question exhaustively, Caesar (((=


Re: Question about a Roman helmet

PostPosted: Mon Nov 20, 2017 10:56 am
by Aula Flavia Philippa
Flavius Severus forgot to mention. That on this cap the lower part is turned upwards. Double layer of felt has great protective properties. As a medical worker, I can say that there, in this area, there is a significant traumatic impact from the chopping blows, as the experience of contact fights shows.

Re: Question about a Roman helmet

PostPosted: Mon Nov 20, 2017 1:41 pm
by Titus Flavius Severus
Yes, Philippa is right. It's worth mentioning that I once heard about knitted hats, but in terms of security, it abruptly fits a felt hat. The cheeks of the helmet did not have an additional gasket. So if you choose a helmet, but you need to take measurements taking into account the felt hat, so that the helmet is snug against the head, and not hanging on the head.

Re: Question about a Roman helmet

PostPosted: Mon Nov 20, 2017 4:25 pm
by Aula Flavia Philippa
I admit that, theoretically, these caps could be made from several layers of woolen cloth, quilted among themselves. Or two quilted layers of fabric; where the wool or the tow hides in the grooves between the stitches. But these options are found at a later time. The only thing that is for certain confirmed, this is what Severus said, namely the felt cap.