One of the most valuable examples of late Roman art in the Bulgarian lands is the discovered bronze mask – helmet. It was found in the tomb of a deceased nobleman. It consists of two elements. The front part is the actual mask and presents in a realistic way the face of a man. The back is the helmet and is decorated with images of griffins. The mask helmet can be considered both an Ancient Roman and Ancient Thracian artifact. It was made in Rome, and was worn at celebrations and parades. However, it was owned by a Thracian aristocrat from ancient Durostorum.
After the Roman Empire conquered all of Ancient Thrace south of the Danube in 46 AD, Thrace became a province that was well integrated into the life of Ancient Rome; many Thracian aristocrats retained their status, and many Thracian soldiers served in the Roman armed forces.
Durostorum was twice visited by the emperor Diocletian (AD 284-305) during his inspection of the lower Danube frontier or limes on October 21-22, AD 294 and once again on June 8, 303. The emperor Valens (364-378) also stayed in Durostorum for a significant amount of time during the First Gothic War of 366-369. The Visigoths, granted the status of Roman foederates in AD 376, settled in Thrace, then crossed the Danube under pressure from the Huns, and entered the Empire in great numbers near Durostorum (one of the catalysts for the eventual collapse of the Empire in the early 5th century AD).