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Subject: Artefacts from the First Punic War rss

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BrentS
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I've cross-posted this from the Hands in the Sea forum, because it's very timely and appropriate for the newly Kickstarted Hamilcar game.

I had an interesting exhibition visit last week and thought it might be of interest to players of this game......and worth a visit for Sydney-siders.

For the next few months there is a Pompeii exhibition at the Sydney Maritime Museum. I've visited Pompeii a couple of times and explored all the archaeological sites on the Bay of Naples in detail, as well as visiting the Museum of Naples where most of the important excavated artefacts are on display, so didn't expect much new to me in this small exhibition, although it is nicely presented and there were some items I hadn't seen before.

What does Pompeii have to do with the First Punic War? Very little, but as the display was in the Maritime Museum, it was themed around the rescue efforts of Pliny the Elder and the Misenum Fleet during the eruption of Vesuvius. To set this in context there were a number of Roman naval artefacts unrelated to Pompeii. Two items were of particular interest....a bronze rostrum (ram) and helmet retrieved by marine archeologists from the seabed at the site of the decisive First Punic War naval battle off the Aegates Islands.

The rostrum was much smaller than I expected....probably only a metre in length, so I imagine it must have been from a trireme, rather than a quadrireme or quinquereme.





It is one of eleven rams retrieved from the battle site. It's in remarkably good shape for having sat at the bottom of the Mediterranean for over 2000 years. It's obviously Roman because it has the names of the quaestors elected in the year it was cast (as well as a depiction of the goddess Victory).





What's really cool is that the prongs show evidence of battle damage, either from impact against a Carthaginian hull or more likely in a head to head collision against an enemy ram.





The helmet is also in really good shape and very clearly a classical Montefortino style helmet, typical of the Roman Republican army of the period.





Particularly cool that both of these items have clear provenance, retrieved from a known ancient battle site (which is extremely rare).

Brent.
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Lieven De Puysseleir
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beautiful, a bit surprised by the shape of the helmet, though.
 
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Kris Van Beurden
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lievendp wrote:
beautiful, a bit surprised by the shape of the helmet, though.


It's the typical shape of helmet you get when you google for "phoenician helmet"
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BrentS
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lievendp wrote:
beautiful, a bit surprised by the shape of the helmet, though.


I think the origin of the Monterfortino helmet style might be Gallic/Celtic? As with many items of Roman equipment, the design was certainly borrowed and there were many variations on it.

The conical shape, apical knob, braidwork rim pattern and shallow rear neck flange are characteristic. It probably looks odd without its cheek guards and plume or crest.

This is a more complete example.





I have much better illustrations of Roman Republican soldiers wearing Montefortino helmets in books and magazine articles but this is what I could find on a quick internet search.




Hastati




Better picture....the hastatus on the right has the more classic Montefortino helmet

Brent.
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Lieven De Puysseleir
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the complete version looks much more familiar. thanks.
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Roger Mark
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Yes, and for some strange reason, Hannibal's Army was kitted out with quite a few of those Montefortino Helmets after the battle of Cannae.
 
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