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Cavalry sports helmet
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In 1796 a clogmaker’s son, playing behind his house in Ribchester, Lancashire, discovered a mass of corroded metalwork. It turned out to be a hoard of Roman military equipment, mainly for use in cavalry sports.

Cavalry sports were flamboyant displays of military horsemanship and weapons drill. They served both as training sessions and to entertain the troops. The most colourful events were mock battles among the elite riders of the unit. Both men and horses wore elaborate equipment such as that found in the Ribchester hoard.

This embossed bronze helmet, decorated with a scene of a skirmish between infantry and cavalry, is the most spectacular piece from the hoard. When used, the head-piece and face-mask would be held together by a leather scrap. A crest-box and a pair of trailing streamers or “manes” would also have been attached to the head piece.

Cavalry sports helmet

From Ribchester, Lancashire, late I or early II century AD.
Ht. 27,6 cm.

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