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Why the switch from Montefortino to Coolus/Iperial helmets happened?
#1
Hello Gentlemaen. 

I am not sure if there is an answer to it, but why did the roman army switched from Montefortino to Coolus helmets?
I do get, that the Coolus and Imperial Gallic helmets covers more parts of the head, but it seems to me to be less comfortable and compact.
Also until when were the last Montefortino helemts used?
Boris

Qui audet adipiscitur
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#2
In my opinion the Montefortino and Coolus types were contemporaries. The question should be: why the switch to imperial type helmets?
drsrob a.k.a. Rob Wolters
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#3
The only two reasons I see is that the Imperial Helmet covers the head better and maybe just a trend.
But although the Imperial hlemt provides a better cover, it seems to me, that the helmet is less comfortable to wear and its more problematic to move your head, because of the big neck guard.

The Montefortino seems to be a very good compromise between protection, comfort and look of the helmet.
Boris

Qui audet adipiscitur
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#4
As far as I know the Coolus helmets appear about the same time the last Montefortinos date to, as we have a few Montefortinos from the Balkans and Pontic regions that date to the 1st Century AD. The Coolus helmets date between about 10 BC and 60 AD as far as I'm aware.

Coolus helmets though fall under the Weisenau Helmet line, do they not? That is, Coolus, Gallic, and most of the Italic helmets. All belong to roughly the same style but evolved in slightly different directions.
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#5
In my opinion the Coolus is a continuation of the Mannheim pattern with cheek pieces added. During the 1st Century AD crest knobs and tubes for side plumes appeared. These were in most cases meant for a different kind of crest than the horsehair plume. At the beginning of Empire the peak or brow re-enforce appeared on all infantry helmets. A number of Coolus helmets with peaks tend to have a different kind of crest knob to the Montefortino and plumes for side tubes.   A crest knob had apparently become standard and armourers could easily adapt their Montefortinos to the Coolus pattern. The Montefortino helmet from Mainz has exactly the same kind of crest attachment and side tubes as the majority of the late Coolus types. That the armourers made such helmets seems to imply that the class of legionaries that had used the Montefortino now had switched to a different pattern (i.e. the Imperial) That suggests that the Coolus and late Montefortino were intended for a particular class of soldiers.

Interesting is the fact that in the late 1st Century AD bronze Imperial helmets appear that have a similar crest knob and - with one exception - tubes for side plumes too. Were these made for the same class of soldiers and intended to replace the Coolus and Montefortinos still in use up to that time?
drsrob a.k.a. Rob Wolters
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#6
it still doesn't make sense to me, why the change?
Maybe people who wore both types of helmets in reanacting, can shed some light on it?
To me it seems, that the Montefortino is more comfortable to wear.
Did the Imperial and Gallic helmets really provide that much more of protection?
And was so much protection of the neck necessary? Because for that head movement needs to be sacrificed.

Also why the switch from the Imperial- Gallic helmets to the Intercisa helmets of late antiquity? Was it cheaper to produce? Or were there other considerations behind it?
Boris

Qui audet adipiscitur
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#7
(07-23-2018, 09:31 AM)Corvus Wrote: Also why the switch from the Imperial- Gallic helmets to the Intercisa  helmets of late antiquity? Was it cheaper to produce? Or were there other considerations behind it?


Also unknown, but there are a few theories.
One is the construction of the last IG-type helmet, which by the early 3rd c. had a very large neck guard. It is thought that due to new (mainly moubted) enemies, a new fighting stance called for a flexible neck guard.
Also, construction in many parts that were riveted together instead of only piece with only the cheekplates attached may have been the answer of the Roman state to the shortage of material due to the massive losses during the Crisis of the third century. New-style fabricae, no longer attached to legions but giant regional complexes would thus have been able to churn out many more helmets than before. These helmets were 9as Always), influenced by a successful enemy - in this case the Persians.
Robert Vermaat
MODERATOR
FECTIO Late Romans
THE CAUSE OF WAR MUST BE JUST
(Maurikios-Strategikon, book VIII.2: Maxim 12)
[Image: artgroepbutton.jpg]
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#8
(07-24-2018, 01:40 PM)Robert Vermaat Wrote: construction in many parts... may have been the answer of the Roman state to the shortage of material... New-style fabricae... would thus have been able to churn out many more helmets than before.

I have a theory (as I've probably mentioned before) that the riveted composite 'Intercisa' and 'Berkasova' style helmets were possibly stronger than the earlier one-piece-bowl types, and probably much easier to repair. The rivets would absorb the shock of impact, and a single broken section could easily be replaced, rather than having to discard the whole helmet. I confess that's just supposition on my part though!

I'm also unsure that shortage of materials, or money, was a reason for the change in helmet design. If the late Roman state wanted to churn out massive quantities of simple infantry helmets, they could surely have gone back to something like the Montefortino or Coolus design, which were produced in enormous numbers to equip the armies of the civil war era of the later 1st century BC. I don't believe that technologies and techniques were somehow 'lost' or forgotten, by Romans or anybody else; if the late Romans turned to (quite complicated) riveted composite helmets, they did so because these helmets suited their needs better.

Besides (as I've again said before), a cash-strapped state does not order its armouries to cover these supposedly 'simple' helmets with gold and silver plating...

(I know I'm preaching to the converted here, Robert!) [Image: wink.png]
Nathan Ross
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#9
(07-25-2018, 02:09 PM)Nathan Ross Wrote: I have a theory (as I've probably mentioned before) that the riveted composite 'Intercisa' and 'Berkasova' style helmets were possibly stronger than the earlier one-piece-bowl types, and probably much easier to repair. The rivets would absorb the shock of impact, and a single broken section could easily be replaced, rather than having to discard the whole helmet. I confess that's just supposition on my part though!


Some people seem to think the new style ridge helmets are of (far) lower quality! (But they they may just be infavour of their Principate helmets..) I guess it has not been tested so far. Rivets could indeed absorb impact, but when weakened, the whole construction comes apart more easily? And indeed, the thing could be repaired wheread an IG helemt must be discarded when there's a hole in the bowl.
So you could be right there, but we'd need to test it. But for sure there was a reason why the Roman army adopted these Persian-style helmets.

(07-25-2018, 02:09 PM)Nathan Ross Wrote: I'm also unsure that shortage of materials, or money, was a reason for the change in helmet design. If the late Roman state wanted to churn out massive quantities of simple infantry helmets, they could surely have gone back to something like the Montefortino or Coolus design, which were produced in enormous numbers to equip the armies of the civil war era of the later 1st century BC. I don't believe that technologies and techniques were somehow 'lost' or forgotten, by Romans or anybody else; if the late Romans turned to (quite complicated) riveted composite helmets, they did so because these helmets suited their needs better.


Of course I can't be sure, but I think the change in production coincided with a change in the organisation of the fabricae? One would think that a lot of people producing one part makes for a more flexible production (no shortage of parts means no delays) while the production of one whole Imperial Gallic helmet takes up more time. That goes for a Coolus as well - the bowl has to be hammered from one piece, even if it's more simple than an IG. The technology would never have been a problem, they could handle that indeed.
No, not a money problem (I never said that did I? Didn't mean to if I did).
Robert Vermaat
MODERATOR
FECTIO Late Romans
THE CAUSE OF WAR MUST BE JUST
(Maurikios-Strategikon, book VIII.2: Maxim 12)
[Image: artgroepbutton.jpg]
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#10
Quote:The rivets would absorb the shock of impact, 

Thats an interesting observation. The modern Crye Precision Airframe helmet is also made of two parts. One of the reasons is to better absorb an impact of an explosion.
https://www.cryeprecision.com/ProductDet...ame-helmet

Maybe fashion played also some role when changing the helmets? 
The Romans always copied equipment from their enemies or neighbors. 

i still dont understand why such a large neck guard on the IG helmets. 
What practical advantage does it provide? 
It only makes the helmet heavier and makes it more difficult to m
Boris

Qui audet adipiscitur
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#11
(07-26-2018, 06:15 AM)Robert Vermaat Wrote: One would think that a lot of people producing one part makes for a more flexible production (no shortage of parts means no delays)... not a money problem (I never said that did I? Didn't mean to if I did).

You didn't - my apologies! I've become so used to people suggesting that the late Romans were skint and all their equipment was cheap and third-rate that I tend to get my rebuttals in before anyone suggests it!

The 'production line' theory is also very good, and makes a lot of sense.



(07-26-2018, 09:11 AM)Corvus Wrote: Maybe fashion played also some role when changing the helmets?

I think fashion perhaps played a much greater role in Roman military development than we, with our rational minds, generally assume!
Nathan Ross
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