As the ghoul on the battlefield once said: „With only three helmets in my backpack, I’m not going home“!
Remembering this wisdom, our innate tendency to show off, and since Mons did not have his own helmet until now we would like to introduce our 4th new acquisition: a Tralles Secutor
The egg-shaped Secutor helmet with its unadorned eye holes is certainly one of the most iconic gladiator helmets. Some aspects of its design can even be found in late medieval helmets. The pairing of Retiarius against Secutor was one of the most popular in ancient Rome. Especially the big difference in the equipment of the two fighting classes attracted the audience. 20kg of heavy armour standing against a nearly undressed man. The decisive factor of this pairing was the stamina of the fighters and the classification of their own strength. The Secutor’s helmet played a special role here, limiting not only the gladiator’s field of vision, but above all his air supply.
Approximately from the 3rd century onwards, a new helmet design appears on depictions. The Secutor no longer has only two small sight openings, but large eye grills. Adjustments were also made to the size of the comb and the shape of the helmet.
fig 1 depictions of the later helmet shape (burdur)
Together with the Fabri Armorum team we dare a little experiment and try to create a working example of this helmet by using reliefs and mosaics. As no original has been found so far, we are mainly missing information about the inside of the helmet, the nature of the material, the weight or simply how to put it on. Many of these aspects shall be checked by our little experiment in a live test.
fig 2 Visor in detail (13 holes)
Even though the number of 12 eye holes is documented from several clay lamp finds, we have increased the number to 19 per page to ensure greater safety against hits with the trident. The visor was fastened with a pin, similar to the helmet finds from Pompeii, due to the lack of finds.
fig 3 helmet fastener
We have decided to use leather straps for the closure, as the expert discussions have not yet come to a clear conclusion. Leather is an obvious option, but other strap constructions also seem possible to us, as the following interior view of an earlier Secutoren helmet type shows:
fig 4 cutouts from inside
fig 5 secutor gear with cutouts from other side
If we look at the helmet developments in our overview as a whole, we can see that the helmet above follows the same trend as all other helmets of its time: larger eye grills, deeper brim and overall better protection of the fighter.
fig 6 gladiator helmet devellopment
fig 7 mons with helmet
Yours Gladiatores Berolinenses