The bronze Italian helmet : the development of the Cassis from the last quarter of the sixth century B.C. to the third quarter of the first century A.D.
This thesis is a study of the bronze Italian helmet over six centuries, from the last quarter of the sixth century B. C to the end of the 1st century A. D. It surveys and examines the mainstream development and evolution of the helmet in the Apennine peninsula, in particular the nine major forms which dominate the equipment of the Italian warrior during this period i. e. The Apulo-Corinthian, the Negau, the Italo-Chalkidian, the Etrusco-Thracian, the Italo-Pilos, the Samno-Attic, the Montefortino, the Coolus and the Hagenau helmets. Starting from the premise that the majority of helmets no matter of what form, were intended to be functional and that their evolution is entirely dependent upon the type of warfare for which each form was developed, the changing nature of that warfare and the cultural affinities of the people who used it, this thesis discusses the external agencies and cultural influences that can be traced in the development of each form, the origins of the forms themselves and provides a definitive typology for each. Where possible it also establishes an absolute chronology for these typologies, based upon dated examples, the stylistic evolution of form, the size and shape of the helmet bowl, its decoration and standards of manufacture and finish. Due to the complexities of the manufacturing processes involved in the production of bronze helmets and as many of the techniques used were common to all forms this study commences with an examination of these processes and the tools and technology employed including an examination of the growth of mass-production technique in Italian helmet production. Where possible workshop groups have been isolated for each form and areas of regional production defined. This analysis is based on a detailed examination and comparison of the distribution of each type within each form, their dating, fittings i. e crestfixtures, cheek-pieces etc and their decoration and its possible derivation. Finally the functional aspects of the bronze Italian helmet are discussed and attempts are made to account for the overwhelming popularity of the Montefortino helmet which from the the end of the third century B. C. had eclipsed all other Italian helmet forms. It examines the disappearance of the majority of these culturally distinct types which is a marked feature of Rome domination of Italy. It concludes therefore that it is Rome's centralisation of production under her political and military control that led to the suppression of the widespread indigenous Italian arms industries and inevitably led to the progressive rearmament of the Apennine peninsula after the Roman and ultimately Celtic fashion and therefore that it is Rome's cultural control of Italy that led to the supremacy of the Montefortino helmet.