Thousands of years before the Italian carabinieri, the legionaries were the symbol of law and order in ancient Rome.
Silvano Mattesini, an architect and historian who is an expert on the ancient Roman military, organizes a travelling exhibit of legionary armor to highlight the history of the Eternal City and the Roman empire. Silvano Mattesini
HistorianThis is an exhibit for the city of Rome, because they wanted to show the relationship between the Romans and Christianity, and to show the contrast between the heavy Roman military armor and the figure of Christ.
This is a small portion of the exhibit, which takes up nearly 1,500 square meters when shown in its entirety. The armor on display ranges from the earliest Roman legionary armor used in the 4th century BC, and goes to nearly the end of the empire with samples from the 4th century AD. The artefacts look brand new, but they have been cleaned and restored. However, a lot also depends on what material the armor is made of.Silvano Mattesini
HistorianIf it's bronze, there's no problem because bronze is incorruptible, then we find the artefact intact. When it's made with iron, we have problems usually because iron deteriorates almost completely, so we don't find objects of this nature.
There is also a separate section showing armor belonging to one of the most famous and bloody institutions of ancient Rome: the gladiators.Silvano Mattesini
Gladiators were very much tied to the military. Many Roman legionaries had their own orders in gladiator schools, which were always very important in the battles.
Mattesini currently has no plans for where his exhibit will go next, but hopes that it will travel throughout Europe in 2009.