Gesichtsmaske für Reiterkampfspiele

Archäologische Staatssammlung München


Equestrian combat games with a fixed choreography formed an important part of the training of cavalry units of the Roman army. In the spectacularly staged performances, two parties faced one another – each one dressed in richly decorated parade armour. Since the equestrian games had mainly Celtic roots, the technical terms used at the time for the different figures of movement were of Celtic origin. The Celtic origin of the most famous cavalry units associated with the Roman army was also shown by components of their clothing, such as the horsemen’s tight-fitting trousers. The design of the masks and hairstyles indicated the affiliation with one of the two competing parties: one variant was the “Alexander type”, based on the likeness of the great Macedonian general and contrasted by the type of the “Asian”. In a way, it reflected the struggle of “good” against “evil”. The equestrian mask of the “Alexander type” from Upper Bavaria with its vigorously wrinkled forehead and curly hair is very well preserved. It was discovered in 1939 in a gravel pit along the Danube near Straß-Moos, i.e. close to important Roman roads that led along the Danube to Ratisbon and across the wooden bridge across the Danube near Steppberg to Weißenburg.


Archäologische Staatssammlung München

Rights Statement Description