Diving Archaeologists Find Unique Lion Helmet From Punic Wars

by Luke Higgins

A unique bronze helmet discovered in the deep by marine archaeologists off the Sicilian coast, which they have dated to a sea battle of 241 B.C.E. may have been a precursor of the lion-themed helmets used by Rome’s Praetorian Guards, the personal bodyguards of the Roman emperors.
The corps of the Praetorian Guards were established more than two centuries after that battle, by Emperor Augustus. Praetorian helmets also sported a lion-shaped relief, and were sometimes adorned with real lion skin.
Regton Metal Detection Specialists

The helmet’s dating is based, among other things, on pottery jars and other debris discovered on the sea floor at the site.
Recovered from the site of the Battle of the Egadi Islands (Aegadian islands), northwest of Sicily, the helmet is a Montefortino, a Celtic style-helmet that had been worn across Europe, also popularly known as a “Roman helmet”. These are easily identified: they look like half a watermelon with a knob on top and cheek flaps down the sides that tie at the chin. But this one had a difference: the lion decoration.

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