Full Version: Helmet attatchment help needed
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If this has been discussed before please forgive me
but I was wondering how the helmet was attatched,
as per TC's column reliefs and even Junkelmann,
when troops were on the march.
It is shown suspended from the right shoulder somehow.
I thought at first the carrying handle was used but not all
helmets had this feature,especially earlier ones.
Any help in understanding this would be appreciated.

I don't know how they did that, but I can't think of a worse place to carry it -- it will beat you to death.

I would recommend that you suspend it from your front -- tie the helmet laces to one of the lacing eyes on your lorica. It won't bounce around as much there.

I wouldn't dismiss the shoulder position without first trying to see *if* there actually is a way to hold it in place there. We don't even know how the manica was properly kept in place high on the arm, but the only way to come to various conclusions (I don't see how we will ever know for sure) is to try different methods.

To my mind, the positioning of equipment on the body is a different subject to materials and details of construction. The sculptors got the carrying of the weapons correct, why not the carrying of the helmet? There are three tie rings on a helmet, all in contact with the shoulder, so the need for a big handle on the neckguard is a red herring IMHO.
Wow, thanks,guys. I honestly had forgotten I posted this. I have since studied the pics in Junkelmann's book closer and it seems they have attatched it to the strap that goes around the shoulders on the scutum sling. Can't see it well, but that's how it looks to me.Still doesn't explain the ones on the column, though.

(Tarbicus,I assume you didn't get the pics/e-mail I sent with the museum pics in it. Will try again.)

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Trajan's column is not the only place where soldiers can be seen carrying the helmets on their shoulders.

This sculpture from Mainz (which must be more reliable than Trajan's Column) shows the helmet apparently hanging from the right shoulder and (what I find equally interesting) resting on top of the pilum. It could be suggested that the pilum could have been used to help prevent the helmet from moving around too much if it was placed over a part of the helmet such as the neck guard, but this is clearly not what is depicted here, which makes me even more curious about what method was used to keep the helmet attached safely to the right shoulder.

[Image: Mainzbase3imbase.jpg] Image taken from imagebase

Or, the helmet has been looped over, or tied to, the pilum. As a result, it is on the right shoulder because that is where the pilum is being supported.

Bottom line from my perspective, while the columns/reliefs/friezes may show a certain position, it's a safe bet to assume that methods of carry would vary depending on the tactical situation and comfort during the march.

If it were not comfortable over the right shoulder, why carry it that way for 20 Roman miles or more?

That's a possibility,Calvus.Honestly, I usually carry mine on my head but I'm not marching very far Smile

Thanks for the depiction,Crispus.It's certainly in front of the pilum,anyway.
Funny,but they always seem to be hanging on the right side.
(Maybe more reliable, but TC's artist(s) were more skilled-IMHO.

A good reason for the "right side" thing is that these guys are carving a 3-D soldier into a 2-D+ relief. If you want to show them carrying a shield, then where would you logically portray it? On the left.

Same for the helmet. I'm an artist and trying to cram a shield, sarcina, helmet, etc into a small space. Where? On the right.

In reality, though, who cares? Romans were eminently practical people, and soldiers more practical than most. If it does not work, soldiers will quickly find a better way or throw it away altogether.

Having been an infantryman for 25 years, I can tell you that if they are shown on the right shoulder, there may have been either a practical reason which we will never really know for sure, or it is artistic license. But, for sure I can tell you that a real soldier will carry it so that it will cause him less fatigue, aches, and pains at the end of a long march.

So, however you carry it, if it works for you, why worry?

I have just remembered the experience of carrying my helmet against my chest suspended from my neck whist marching Hadrian's Wall.

The helmet swung around quite uncomfortably and I had to hold my pilum closer to my legs than I wished in order to allow my arm to steady the helmet slightly. This made my shoulder tired and I poked my right leg accidentally with the butt of the pilum on several occasions. In addition to this, the helmet developed a good deal of pitting on the neck guard and back of the skull thanks to beads of sweat dropping onto it. If there was a way to hold it securely on the shoulder perhaps both of these problems could be avoided.

Quote:Same for the helmet. I'm an artist and trying to cram a shield, sarcina, helmet, etc into a small space. Where? On the right.
Or suspended in the middle where there's plenty of room to put the helmet. But they don't show that :wink:
When we discovered that Gallic helmets and shields on the back were inconsistent we looked at Trajan and tried different methods of attachment.

Everyway we looked at it a thong around the neck was the obvious way of proceeding . Its easy to put on and take off and once you are marching it stays flat on your chest. Lean forwards and it revolves though and this can twist and cause you problems. It catches at the back sometimes.

We now use a wider variety of helmets some without carrying handles. Here we use the tying thong and hang it around the neck. It seems to work OK.
We found that carrying it as in the picture works quite well

Scithi has his hooked to his seg, mine's around my neck with a card woven belt that loops throuhg the carry handle. 7000 feet elevation...!

Closer pic of Scithi with his hooked onto his seg

A walk in the rain.. ... ream05.jpg
Marius has his on a leather balteus. Mine is under my paenula.

Side not.. scutums on a leather balteus slung around the shoulders and looped through the carry hanlde.. a very comfortable "at ease" position
I agree that carrying the helmet on the chest, as Derek described, works. This is the method I was using in the march I referred to above. I also agree that the Romans could have used this method.

However, this is not what the only sculpural evidence for the carrying of helmets actually shows. Both sculptures show the helmet being carried on the right shoulder. However we try to do it today, we must not ignore this fact. What might be obvious to us may not have made sense to the Romans.

In the same way, although Hib and Scythius' method obviously works and could have been used by the Romans, it is not what the few relevant sculpures show. These show the shield being carried in a verticalo position around the left shoulder.

As re-enactors we need to find practical solutions we discover, but I believe we also have a responsibility to try and reproduce what the evidence shows and this applies no less if we do not understand the original methods employed. What we need to do is to find ways to portray what the evidence shows and then publish our reconstructions as real possibilities.