Whether you are looking at listings for a Roman helmet or have come across an individual with a Roman helmet for sale, there are a number of factors that go into choosing the right type of Roman helmet for your needs. Think about what you are going to do with your helmet, decide on the time period and social rank of the Roman you would like to represent, and consider your budget.
The Real Roman Helmet
If you are going to wear the helmet or put in on display, your needs are going to change depending on how you will use it. For a helmet you intend to wear, you will likely want something that is comfortable and provides the protection that your re-enactments require. If you want to display it, the aesthetic qualities of your helmet might be your most important consideration. You also need to consider how historically accurate you would like your helmet to be; there are quite a few Hollywood-inspired inaccuracies in some popular styles.
Although the helmets of gladiators were much more stylized for entertainment, both gladiator and soldier helmets were a mixture of form and function. Before you start shopping, figure out what type of helmet you want and what social standing you want to represent. Do you want a helmet from the infantry, the cavalry, a centurion, or any of the various kinds of gladiator? With the various spikes, plumes, and materials (brass, bronze, iron, and steel versions are well represented), there should be something to fit your costume or room design.
In general, most sellers will tell you want kind of helmet they are selling you, but it is always advisable to do independent research, especially if they are an individual as opposed to a company with a reputation to maintain. If you are looking for presentation, stainless steel might seem like a good option, but if you are going for historical accuracy, stainless steel did not yet exist in Roman times. Early Roman helmets were fairly simple: dome, forehead guard, rear neck guard, and ear guards. At the height of the empire, more elaborate techniques were incorporated from various conquered peoples, like “eyebrows” engraved into the brow. Late Roman designs incorporate elements, like nose-bridge guards, that were early examples of common medieval armor elements.
Hopefully you can now make a more informed choice the next time you are looking for a Roman helmet for sale. While some cheap costume options are available, the investment in a well-made replica will pay off over time because it will not fall apart. Remember that the most important part of the decision is whether or not you will be happy with your purchase. You do have options, even within historical parameters, so make sure to get the helmet that meets your needs.