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Greek helmets galore
#1
Hello!
I'm currently working in Berlin on two major studies about greek helmets with plenty of previously unpublished examples. If you have questions about terminology, typology etc. you can ask me!
Jörg
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#2
Oracle (you will soon be jumped on for not signing your real name),

Tell us more about what you are studying. I'm collecting images of Pilos helms. If you have any interesting examples I'd love to see them.

Also, are there any greek shield pieces laying around? :wink:
Paul M. Bardunias
MODERATOR: [url:2dqwu8yc]http://www.romanarmytalk.com/rat/viewtopic.php?t=4100[/url]
A Spartan, being asked a question, answered "No." And when the questioner said, "You lie," the Spartan said, "You see, then, that it is stupid of you to ask questions to which you already know the answer!"
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#3
I don't think it would be wise to reveal much in this early stage of my work, but I can say that there will be an appropriate publication of selected material from the former Guttmann collection and a study of the construction and origin of the attic helmet in hellenistic times.

I have dozens of images of piloi, mostly from the former Guttmann collection.

Shields are extremely rare. A thin sheet of bronze is far more susceptible to corrosion than a rather compact object like a helmet.


Ask your questions, the oracle will answer.
Jörg
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#4
Quote:Ask your questions, the oracle will answer.

You archaeologists are a secretive lot. Smile

Ok, I do have some. Can you tell me something about the origin and use of some of the decorative features seen on hellenistic helmets from Magna Grecia? I am specifically thinking of the gorgon faces and wheels seen on pilos helms as well as the full bull's horns and ears. A recently auctioned Gutmann helmet shows huge rectangular stylized horns and snakes applied in relief across the brow.

One of the most interesting helms I've seen on offer is an Apulo-corinthian with the fake eye-holes covered over by a "T" shaped bronze plate. This demonstrates both the triumph of fashion over subtance, in having the decorative holes there in the first place, and the triumph of substance over style, in the wise move of plating over large holes in the brow of one's helmet.
Paul M. Bardunias
MODERATOR: [url:2dqwu8yc]http://www.romanarmytalk.com/rat/viewtopic.php?t=4100[/url]
A Spartan, being asked a question, answered "No." And when the questioner said, "You lie," the Spartan said, "You see, then, that it is stupid of you to ask questions to which you already know the answer!"
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#5
Because the Guttmann collection was full of heavily decorated helmets from Italy, these features will be covered in detail in the Guttmann publication.

First of all, these helmets are not hellenistic, at best early-hellenistic. I'm not aware of any greek helmets from Italy which should be dated younger than 4th century BC.
The mentioned features (Gorgoneion, wheels, horns) seem to appear exclusively on helmets from Italy, but this can also be preservation-conditioned: helmets from Italy were found mostly in tombs, helmets from Greece (except Macedonia) mostly in sanctuaries. Since the dedication of armour ended in mid-5th-century BC in the most important sanctuary, Olympia, almost no helmets from Greece from the 4th century are preserved. The many known helmets from 4th-century-BC-Italy can't be compared with contemporary examples from Greece.
Jörg
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#6
The Gorgoneion is an old Apotropaion, a protection- and deterrence-symbol. In mythology, the cut-off head of the Gorgo Medusa was worn by Athena.
The horns surely have a similar meaning, the strength and power of animals (e. g. bulls) shall be transferred to the wearer of the helmet, who appears bigger and more ferocious.
The wheels are debatable. I suppose a connection to the underworld, because on a huge apulian-volutekrater they are shown hanging from the roof of the palace of Hades and Persephone.

The question, if the helmets with these fragile decorations (cut out of thin bronze sheets) were used in battle, is fully legitimate. These helmets were undoubtedly made in greek workshops, but I think they were actually worn by indigenous people. Compare apulian vases: the main customers were indigenous aristocrats. An often used term is "ceremonial armour", but a use of this armour in unknown ceremonies is hypothetical. Maybe these helmets were made exclusively for the burial, analogous to the apulian vases which should probably show wealth at the burial.
Jörg
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#7
The covering of the fake-eye-holes of the apulo-corinthian-helmet you refer to (Guttmann collection nr. 175) was secondary applied. I'm aware of one other example. I suppose the helmet was intentionally made useless before burying it with the dead wearer. Please compare intentionally damaged helmets from Olympia (ritual "killing" of the weapon).
Jörg
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#8
Quote: I suppose the helmet was intentionally made useless before burying it with the dead wearer. Please compare intentionally damaged helmets from Olympia (ritual "killing" of the weapon).

The eye holes on the Apulo-corinthian are for show, the helmet sits too high on the head and they are generally too small to be seen through. Rather than being rendered useless, this helmet (#193) was reinforced with a decorated plate. I am constantly looking for a functional explanation for elements of the hoplite panoply, I keep these helmets in mind to remind me that some would rather look like greeks on vases with their helms pulled back on their heads even at the cost of protection.
Paul M. Bardunias
MODERATOR: [url:2dqwu8yc]http://www.romanarmytalk.com/rat/viewtopic.php?t=4100[/url]
A Spartan, being asked a question, answered "No." And when the questioner said, "You lie," the Spartan said, "You see, then, that it is stupid of you to ask questions to which you already know the answer!"
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#9
Quote:The Gorgoneion is an old Apotropaion, a protection- and deterrence-symbol. In mythology, the cut-off head of the Gorgo Medusa was worn by Athena.
The horns surely have a similar meaning, the strength and power of animals (e. g. bulls) shall be transferred to the wearer of the helmet, who appears bigger and more ferocious.
The wheels are debatable. I suppose a connection to the underworld, because on a huge apulian-volutekrater they are shown hanging from the roof of the palace of Hades and Persephone.

Any idea on where/when they start to be added to helmets? Perhaps to impress the indigenes if the below is correct.

Quote:The question, if the helmets with these fragile decorations (cut out of thin bronze sheets) were used in battle, is fully legitimate. These helmets were undoubtedly made in greek workshops, but I think they were actually worn by indigenous people. Compare apulian vases: the main customers were indigenous aristocrats. An often used term is "ceremonial armour", but a use of this armour in unknown ceremonies is hypothetical. Maybe these helmets were made exclusively for the burial, analogous to the apulian vases which should probably show wealth at the burial.

That is interesting, some obvious battle damage would perhaps settle it. One thing I think that speaks against a use as soley grave goods is that they appear to be removable, fitting on little projections from the sides of the helm. Why be able to remove them if you are going to bury the helm and never wear it without them?

I assume you mean made by the Italian Greeks for peoples like Messapians and Lucanians, not made in mainland greece for the Italian greeks.
Paul M. Bardunias
MODERATOR: [url:2dqwu8yc]http://www.romanarmytalk.com/rat/viewtopic.php?t=4100[/url]
A Spartan, being asked a question, answered "No." And when the questioner said, "You lie," the Spartan said, "You see, then, that it is stupid of you to ask questions to which you already know the answer!"
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#10
Quote: The eye holes on the Apulo-corinthian are for show, the helmet sits too high on the head and they are generally too small to be seen through.

I know. ;-) )

Quote: Rather than being rendered useless, this helmet (#193) was reinforced with a decorated plate.

No. Never ever.

Quote: ... that some would rather look like greeks on vases with their helms pulled back on their heads even at the cost of protection.

That's nonsense. Sorry.
Jörg
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#11
Quote: Any idea on where/when they start to be added to helmets? Perhaps to impress the indigenes if the below is correct.

Decoration with horns is apparently a very old custom: I know a "Kegelhelm" from geometric times with horns and several similar decorated corinthian helmets from the 6th century BC. The wheels seem to appear exclusively on piloi from the 4th century.

Quote: One thing I think that speaks against a use as soley grave goods is that they appear to be removable, fitting on little projections from the sides of the helm.

Interesting! I'll keep it in mind.
Jörg
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#12
'Oracle', before you go accusing further members of RAT of 'nonsense', please put your real (first) name in your signature. It's a forum rule and polite besides.
Greets!

Jasper Oorthuys
Webmaster & Editor, Ancient Warfare magazine
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#13
I was, am and will be the Oracle. I was at the forge of Hephaistos and have seen his anvil. That has to suffice.
Jörg
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#14
Quote:PMBardunias wrote:
The eye holes on the Apulo-corinthian are for show, the helmet sits too high on the head and they are generally too small to be seen through.
I know.
PMBardunias wrote:
Rather than being rendered useless, this helmet (#193) was reinforced with a decorated plate.
No. Never ever.
PMBardunias wrote:
... that some would rather look like greeks on vases with their helms pulled back on their heads even at the cost of protection.
That's nonsense. Sorry.

The above confuses me. If you accept that the eye holes are useless decoration, then covering them with a decorated plate seems a poor way of destroying them. Usually true Corinthains have the nasal and cheeks bent up to "kill" them, any true corinthians covered to render them useless?

Is there another explanation besides fashion and a wish to emulate a corinthian helm pushed up in the resting position for the moving of the eye-holes up to a useless position on the forehead that weakens the defensive value of the helmet?
Paul M. Bardunias
MODERATOR: [url:2dqwu8yc]http://www.romanarmytalk.com/rat/viewtopic.php?t=4100[/url]
A Spartan, being asked a question, answered "No." And when the questioner said, "You lie," the Spartan said, "You see, then, that it is stupid of you to ask questions to which you already know the answer!"
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#15
Quote: Is there another explanation besides fashion and a wish to emulate a corinthian helm pushed up in the resting position for the moving of the eye-holes up to a useless position on the forehead that weakens the defensive value of the helmet?

Yes, there is. Answer will come. I have to go now, de-tox is hell!!!
Jörg
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