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Achilles' & Agamemnon's helmets in Dezso's typolog; Reconstructing their type(s)
Topic Started: Apr 5 2014, 10:32 PM (356 Views)
Todd Feinman
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Putting the pieces together from Born & Dezso's work, and Homer's descriptions in the Iliad, I have arrived at a possible picture of the actual type of helmets that Homer describes Achilles and Agamemnon wearing (I'm assuming here that they were wearing the same basic type):

1. They are, or are similar to kegelhelms.
2. They are likely composed of five separate pieces.
3. Their cheekpieces likely had eye cutouts and possibly mouth cutouts, to create a hollow-eyed appearance.
4. They would have to be constructed in such a manner as to allow for the attachment of horns (four, in the case of Achilles' helmet).

Of the surviving helmets and helmet pieces in the Archaeological record from the Greek Geometric and early Archaic Periods, there are examples from Cyprus, Olympia, and Lindos that could light the way to a possible reconstruction of the helmet type worn by the Greek heroes.

There are examples from Tamassos, Cyprus that have hinged, detachable cheekpieces with eye and mouth cutouts, attached to a ribbed helmet bowl beaten from bronze sheet that covers the forehead and back of the head; essentially made of three pieces. These fit the bill in some ways but are not Greek, and composed of only three pieces in most cases, and though they have a prominent crest knob derived from Assyrian helmets, there is no crest holder for a horsehair crest. These helmets are referred to in Deszo's typology as "pointed helmets".

There are the Greek kegelhelms, consisting of the Argos helmet and the helmets and pieces discovered at Olympia; most of these don't have eye and mouth cutouts.

There are some surviving cheekpieces, some found at Olympia, and another at Lindos, that bear further scrutiny. The pieces are similar to the examples from Cyprus, but were not attached to a helmet bowl with hinges; they have a line of rivet holes along their upper edge, instead. I have not seen a picture of the example from Lindos, but here is a piece found at Olympia:
http://tinyurl.com/pls2t7c
Unlike the kegelhelm cheekpieces with the eye and mouth cutouts found on the relatively intact helmets at Olympia, the section above the eye on the unusual unattached cheekpieces is much too short to have extended completely to the helmet bowl. Dezso suggest they could be part of a "false Corinthian", like the examples seen on the Samos crescent decoration, or from a different unknown type. The problem with the "false Corinthian" type is that it was likely composed of three pieces; a helmet bowl with cheekpieces riveted on.

I suggest that there was a type if helmet very similar to the Tamassos examples that were composed of five pieces; the cheekpieces were riveted onto the brow plate to complete the lines of the eye cutouts. The reinforcing ribs of the cheekpieces would continue across the forehead on the brow plate. The brow plate would extend enough to allow for the attachment of horns; two or four. The backplate would wrap around and rivet to both the ends of the brow plate (right over the back of each ear), and the upper part of each cheekpiece. Such a helmet would be composed of five pieces like other kegelhems, have a hollow-eyed appearance and allow for the attachment of horns. The area under the ear would still be vulnerable to attack.

This is the design I am using for my re-creation of Achilles' helmet.
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