The Stadio di Domiziano, in addition to exhibiting the ruins that lie beneath Piazza Nuvona , also house a museum dedicated to the evolution of military protective gear from Ancient Rome. Many of the items on display were excavated from the rivers around Rome, and belong to private collectors.
These two helmets and breast plate are the oldest ones on display in the exhibit. As you look at the pictures following this one, you can easily see how little protection these early helmets provided.
As the protective elements progressed, and the Roman Empire expanded, influences from other cultures began to take hold. Here, the wide brimmed helmets were copied from Greek styles.
Full bodied face masks, larger breast plates, and larger shields provided soldiers with more protection.
The open styled helmets displayed here were more typical of cavalry uniforms, allowing for better field of vision.
Decorations to the helmets were used more by officers and for ceremonial occasions than for functionality.