Archaeologists from Turkey's Karabük University recently unearthed an iron face mask that would have been worn by an accomplished member of the Roman empire's cavalry from 1,800 years ago. According to Daily Mail, they discovered a fortified structure during excavations in the ancient city of Hadrianopolis in Paphlagonia, located near the modern-day Eskipazar, Karabuk Province.

The team said that the finds indicate an influence of the Roman Empire in Turkey and imply that they have been in the region for as early as the 3rd century AD.

 1,800-Year-Old Iron Face Mask of A Roman Empire Soldier Unearthed in Turkey
(Photo: Wikimedia Commons)
Kalkriese face mask for Roman cavalry helmet, Museum und Park Kalkriese, Germany.

Recent Discovery Highlights Roman Empire's Influence in the western Black Sea region

The ancient city of Hadrianapolis was founded in the 1st century BC and was considered to be one of the largest settlements in the western Black Sea region until the 8th century AD, according to Market Research Telecast.


The area where archaeologists found the calvary helmet and mask was being explored since 2003, and they have already found 14 structures, including a walled building. More so, the excavation site in the ancient city was famous for its mosaics on the floor of churches and its confluence of the Euphrates, Geon, Phison, and Tigris.

"We assume, from the fortification wall, that it is a military structure," archaeologist Ersin Çelikbaş, from Karabuk University, told local news outlet Gazet Global.

Experts from the university's Department of Archaeology highlighted in their report that these discoveries are proof of the influence that the Roman empire once had in the region during the early 3rd century AD. The team took their finds to the museums surrounding the province of the excavation site but left the immovable finds in place.

They believe that the Roman empire must have created a military base in the ancient city to establish a frontal defense zone to avoid all kinds of danger coming from the east and the Balck Sea, making it Rome's most important defensive city.

Çelikbaş said that even though their discovery confirms that the Roman Empire once occupied the site, the overall history of the inland areas in the western Black Sea region has not yet been fully uncovered.

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Roman Cavalry Helmets Used in Sports Rather Than War

According to World History Encyclopedia, the Nijmegen Roman cavalry helmet is an iron face mask sheathed in bronze and silver, first discovered in 1915 CE near Nijmegen (now the Netherlands).

It consists of a face mask, a browband, and ear and neck guards on either side of the helmet. Compared to battle helmets, Roma cavalry helmets conform to the faces of the riders and have openings for the eyes not to hinder their vision.

However, rather than being used in a real war, they were worn in cavalry parades and sporting mock battles known as "hippika gymnasia." Daily Mail reported that the Roman cavalry held these events to practice their skills on horseback, display their expertise, and attract the attention of onlookers.

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