The Art of Ancient Helmet Making (Video)
Ancient helmet making involved intricate craftsmanship. The Montefortino helmet, a Roman military helmet from the third century BC, consisted of a bowl shape, complemented by cheek pieces with embossed designs. To create these pieces, craftsmen worked with bronze sheets, shaping them using hammering techniques. Chasing tools helped achieve precise lines and curves. A key aspect of the process was the use of pitch, a pine resin substance. The metal sheet was heated and embedded in the pitch, providing a secure grip and resistance against folding. This allowed for the formation of depressions and curves without compromising the metal's structure.
Periodic annealing prevented cracks during manipulation. Finishing involved grinding and polishing, resulting in a smooth surface. Patination or in-painting blended the cheek pieces with the helmet's overall appearance. The ancient armorers' skill and attention to detail are evident in these helmets. Through traditional techniques and materials, they produced visually stunning and functional headgear, showcasing the remarkable craftsmanship of the past.
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Top image: Ancient helmet. Source: Lukas Juszczak / Adobe Stock.