Danube Virtual Museum

Mask (part of a ceremonial helmet)

Title: Mask (part of a ceremonial helmet)
Site: Kostol - Pontes / Transdrobeta
Location/Region: Kladovo
Chrolonology: 1 AD - 500
Museum: National Museum in Belgrade
Country: Serbia
Culture: Roman
Closer Dating: Beginning of the 2nd century
Material: Bronze
Dimensions: H 26 cm; W 21 cm
Production Technique: Minting

Popović Lj. 1987, Classical Portraiats in Yugoslavia (N. Cambi, I. Popović, Lj. Popović, D. Srejović eds.), Beograd

Ratković D. 2007: In. Balkani, Antiche civilita tra il Danubio e l Adriatico, (eds. T. Cvjetićanin, G. Gentili, V. Krstić), Milano 2007.


Helmet-mask from Kostol (Pontes) was found in 1854 near Trajan's Bridge and in the same year became a part of the collection of the National Museum in Belgrade. It consists of two firmly connected parts - a mask and the calotte. A face mask has blindfolds, nostrils and mouth. Ears are also presented on it. The beard, mustache and hair on the calotte area are presented in the form of tresses, which are divided into tiny little hairs. The eyebrows are arched and thick and below them are wide open elliptical holes for the eyes, with lids easily drawn. The nose is long and well shaped. At the top of the calotte there are rivets for fastening of the crest (crista). On the back edges of the calotte and the mask there is a series of circular perforations that were used to fix the leather lining of the helmet. The helmet represents an excellent toreutic product of naturalistic face modeling with prominent individual characteristics. It was created under the strong influence of realistic portraits of Trajan's time. Analogies with presentations on Trajan's Column in Rome, which glorify this emperor’s war and his conquest of Dacia are evident by the presented hairstyles. According to its realistic depiction tightly related to the reality without impressionist influence, it has Roman portraits features that were created already in the time of the Roman Republic. By its stylistic features, the helmet-mask from Kostol belongs to Trajanian realism (the transition between the 1st and the 2nd century) and comes from Italic workshops. Visor helmet for the equestrian games from Kostol for now is a unique artifact of this type without any direct analogy.