Full Version: Feathers on Hellenistic Helmets
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Hello all!
Since I am interested in Greek military history, there is a question for which i am not able to find an answer, and that is the meaning of feathers on Hellenistic Helmets.
I have all ready posted this question on the excellent forum of the Hetairoi, and i have to thank all those Members who helped me there, but feathers only as a fashion??
This is a very simple answer, but Horsehair crest had also a protecting meaning, so that it might be possible that there is a similar sense behind the feathers. Or a symbolic meaning?
You see, i have no idea what could be behind these feathers.
I hope that some of you here might help me to see clear.
Maybe there is someone who can tell me the meaning, or who can tell me that this was really just a fashion.
Thank you all for your help!

Kind regards
Crests as protection...yes they must have protected you some if you received a blow directly on it,but this is not a purpose of the crest. Most helmets appear not to have had crests at all.
Feathers can't have had a protective function at all. They're far too delicate and fashion is a very good reason for their presence. They're also cheaper than horsehair.
Don't underestimate fashion and beauty in ancient warriors. They most often did odd and really uncomfortable things for the shake of appearence. I found that the crest on my helmet is a real pain in the neck,my helmet is much lighter without it. And less impressive,too.
Just a comment. Feathers were not "hellenistic".

A browse through the Persues image base will show you feathers along side crests from the Archaic Age if not earlier.

Wars is above all psychology. If you appear impresive big mean nast and "martial" (whatever that means in various periods) the less people will hold their own against you. Impressive appearance helps on this.

Kind regards
So these Feathers are decoration and something like psychological warfare?
Now I see clear.
Than it can be said, that they should give their bearer something wild an "monster like", besides making him look taller?
Some kind of Prestige too?
Reminds me of a similarity in the early 18Th Century AD, when the Prussian king formed his guard from the tallest men among his army, giving them tall miter caps too improve their "giant" look.
Many thanks to both of you!
Kind regards
You are wellcome Willi.

I think that Kekaumenos (Byzantine ) in his writngs had said:
"..,give a man fine clothes and shiny armor plus a good horse and if his brave he will be doubly so if timid he will do his duty..."

And Napoleon who must have read him is reputed to have said:
"The uniform makes the man"

Kind regards