Parade helmet and face mask

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found at Newstead, Roxburghshire

Postcard of Parade helmet and face mask.
© National Museums Scotland

Parade helmet and face mask

This parade helmet and face mask, made of beaten iron, was found at the site of the Roman fort at Newstead in Roxburghshire. It was used in parades and tournaments by auxiliary cavalrymen between 80 and 100 AD.

Traces remain of silver or tin plating on the outside and a woollen lining inside. The head of the youth is covered with tight, spiral curls held in a laurel wreath. The neckguard is decorated, and has the owner's name inscribed in punched letters.

Roman cavalry units held tournaments where they put on spectacular displays. The cavalrymen wore fancy helmets which covered the face as well as the head. Of the three surviving examples from Newstead, this is the most complete.

Record details

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Online ID: 000-100-036-815-C
Image Rights Holder: National Museums Scotland
Project: 0098: National Museums Scotland
Project description | View all records in project
Ref: National Museums Scotland  X.FRA 121
Date: Between 80 and 100 AD
Material: Iron; visor mask in form of a human face
What: Helmet, parade
Who: Newstead Collection
Where: Scotland, Roxburghshire, Melrose, Newstead
Description: Iron parade helmet from Newstead
  • Clarke, D.V., Breeze, D.J., and Mackay, G. The Romans in Scotland. An introduction to the collections of the National Museums of Antiquities of Scotland. Edinburgh: National Museum of Antiquities of Scotland, 1980, p 24. 
  • Keppie, L.J.F. & Arnold, B. Corpus Signorum Imperii Romani (Corpus of Sculpture of the Roman World) Vol 1, Fascicule 4, Scotland, London: British Academy, no 54 (1984). 
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