Roman Bronze Mannheim Helmet With Siren, c. 50 BC
This exceptional Roman helmet dates from the mid to late 1st century BC. Adorned with rare cast decoration, it is the finest example of the ‘Mannheim’ type currently on the private market.
Exhibiting a beautiful deep green patina, this stunning Roman legionary’s helmet is constructed of hammered sheet, the dome with a small flanged brim front and back, and each side with two perforations for the attachment of leather cheek-guards, now long since perished. A separately cast figure of a Siren with outstretched wings, tender smiling features and parted hair is riveted to the front.
The Mannheim style of helmet is generally associated with the Roman army
operating in the western areas of the Empire during the late Republican
era through to the Flavian period. The style arose in the mid-1st
century BC at the time of the Gallic Wars, and was clearly influenced by
the helmets worn by Celtic warriors. The style persisted up to around
100 AD, and appears to have been prevalent among troops stationed along
the Rhine frontier. Though the Mannheim seems to have been popular
during this period, examples in this stunning condition are extremely
rare. Even more exceptional is the Siren riveted to the front, an extra
addition which was likely paid for out of the pocket of the legionary
who owned it.