From beyond the grave, the visage of a Roman soldier is captured in this first-century A.D. bronze piece. It was found in a grave tumulus (burial mound) in Vize (ancient Bizye), Turkey. Scylla, the destroyer of Odysseus’s ship, adorns the visor of the helmeted soldier, while Nike, the goddess of victory, graces each of the cheek guards. The two-piece helmet is held together by a hinge at the forehead. The eyes, nostrils and mouth are carved open.
Bizye was home to the mythological Thracian king Tereus, one of the sons of Ares, the god of war. It was also one of the last Thracian capitals before Thrace was annexed by Rome in 44 or 46 B.C. The helmet was part of the horde of grave goods of an obviously wealthy and important person who was buried in the tumulus, quite possibly a member of the royal house of Thrace.
The masked helmet is 10 inches high and 8 inches wide and is in the collection of the Archaeological Museum in Istanbul.