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Cassis or Galea?
Does anyone have any solid information about which Romans called their helmets? Was it cassis or was it galea? I've read that both terms mean Roman helmets, but I'm not sure about the differencies, if there is any. Are the names synonymical?
I remember from reading long ago from some book that galea would mean a leather helmet, and cassis a metal helmet. But Romans didn't really use leather helmets, even partially leather ones, so that could be wrong. Also I may have got info somewhere that galea would mean a gladiators helmet and cassis a legionary helmet, but I have no idea if it's true or not.

Then I've read from a book called Dictionary of Antiquity, that buccula would mean the kind of helmet which Roman officers wore. There was a picture of a Roman Attic helmet, which we have not found any archaeological evidence, but which there are numerous depictions in reliefs. Later I remember hearing that bucculae would mean the cheek flaps of a helmet, is that true?
Antonius Insulae (Sakari)
I've heard Galea for Helmet, period. The romans didn't have leather helmets, did they?
I'm not sure there is a difference. I tend to use either term, although I admit to using "Cassus" more often, as it's the first word I saw when starting my research years ago, so it stuck. If there is some kind of difference, be it differ term used in different time periods, that'd be interesting to learn about.

As far as I am aware, Romans did not have any leather helmets. Leather straps, padding, suspension, bits? Yes. But not aware of any evidence, even in the literature, suggesting helmets made of leather. More of a Hollywoodism/Renaissance Faire mistake.

As for bucculae or terminology for specific parts, I'm not sure I see the point of having a [latin] name for every component of a helmet, or armor, etc. Again, I do not recall ever coming across such detail in historical literature. As with the Gladius, the Romans ever only seemed to call it Gladius, they did not appear to make any kind of distinction or categorical reference to different times. Sword meant sword, Helmet meant helmet, be it 200 BCE or 70 CE. It appears to be a modern thing to have a name for every single part or a category for a particular style/type. (While that works fine for us modern people, it just means that's not how the Romans appear to have gone about it)
Andy Volpe - aka - Titus Vulpius Dominicus
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Is it likely a helmet would be called a galea before the Gallic style of helmet was adopted? I'd use cassis for the Republican period, and galea for Imperial.
TARBICvS/Jim Bowers
Quote:I remember from reading long ago from some book that galea would mean a leather helmet, and cassis a metal helmet.

Well, that is the theory that Raffaele D'amato puts forward in his 'Arms and Armour of the Imperial Roman Soldier, From Marius to Commodus, 112 BC-AD 192'. If you search for reviews of the book here on RAT you'll find that his argument on leather armour (incl. helmets) is highly debated. Make up you're own mind, but it seems that the general opinion (including mine) still is against leather armour.

As for the therminology I use both, maybe 'Galea' little more often.
Jvrjenivs Peregrinvs Magnvs / FEBRVARIVS
A.K.A. Jurjen Draaisma
CORBVLO and Fectio
Quote:Was it cassis or was it galea? I've read that both terms mean Roman helmets, but I'm not sure about the differencies, if there is any.
It's all Isidore's fault. He decided that cassis de lamina est, galea de corio ("the cassis is made out of metal, the galea out of leather"; Etymologies 18.14). Livy and Caesar, for example, use galea for helmets that are surely made of metal. The confusion perhaps arose from Tacitus' account of the Germans, where, after noting that there is a general shortage of iron, he says that paucis loricae, vix uni alterive cassis aut galea ("a few have armour, only one or two have a cassis or a galea"; On Germany 6). This is taken (universally, as far as I can see) to represent a choice of metal or leather, but may simply be Tacitus' rhetoric (he likes oppositions, like gladius and spatha ... neither of which is made of leather Wink ).
posted by Duncan B Campbell
A leather spatha, that could be funny.

I have Isidore of Seville, on my flashdrive. That info was useful. Thanks.
Quote:It's all Isidore's fault.
Like the red tunic, that's also his fault. :twisted:

To me it's crystal clear what's cassis and what a galea.





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Robert Vermaat
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It isn't Crystal clear Robert it is Hero :evil: ;-)
aka Jos Cremers
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I wonder if Crystal Light makes cassis. :lol:
Hmm, this looks interesting...a few bottles of this and anything landing on your head will not be noticed.... 8)
Visne partem mei capere? Comminus agamus! * Me semper rogo, Quid faceret Iulius Caesar? * Confidence is a good thing! Overconfidence is too much of a good thing.
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Byron Angel
"scons or scones" thier really an actual meaning to these words, or is it heresay?
How one pronounces a word could, seeing as Legions/Auxillary units were comprised of various nations/languages, yes i know they had to speak Latin, but could the both be a combination of a "local" as in area of Europe, and Latin combined, as a disrupted combination of both from later times?
We find this in "place" names so why not in equipment?
Its an idea at least.
I've read that velites of the roman army used Galea as in the leather helmet. I think this was in the early stages of the roman army.

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