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Corinthian Helmet – Benaki Museum

Corinthian Helmet - Benaki Museum, Athens - Joy of Museums

Corinthian Helmet

This bronze Corinthian Helmet originated in ancient Greece and took its name from the city-state of Corinth. This style became the most popular helmet during the Archaic and early Classical periods. The form gradually gave way to the more open type, which was less expensive to manufacture and did not obstruct the wearer’s vision and hearing as the Corinthian helmet did.

The Corinthian helmet has been depicted on pottery and more sculpture than any other helmet. Out of combat situations, a Greek hoplite wore the helmet tipped up to the top of the head, for comfort, and this was portrayed in Greek art to show the warriors face.  The Greeks romantically associated the Corinthian Helmet with past glory and tradition and this helmet type remained in use well into the 1st century AD.

The Romans also revered this Greek helmet style, and in Italy, the Corinthian helmet evolved into a war helmet called the Italo-Corinthian, with the characteristic nose guard and the eye slits eventually becoming mere decorations.

In popular culture, the Star Wars character, Boba Fett, also wears a helmet with a T-shaped visor that vaguely resembles the Corinthian helmet, as do many other Mandalorians and Clonetroopers.

Corinth

Corinth was a city-state on the narrow stretch of land that joins the Peloponnese to the mainland of Greece, roughly halfway between Athens and Sparta. Ancient Corinth was one of the largest and most important cities of Greece, with a population of 90,000 in 400 BC. In classical times, Corinth rivalled Athens and Thebes in wealth, based on the traffic and trade through the Isthmus of Corinth.

Exploring Helmets

Reflections

  • Did Greek Art make the Corinthian Helmet popular beyond its functional benefits?
  • What does this bronze helmet tell us about Ancient Greek warfare?
  • Why has popular culture copied Greek helmet styles?
  • Why has this helmet type featured strongly in Ancient Art, Military Insignia & Science Fiction?

Corinthian Helmet

  • Title:            Corinthian Helmet
  • Date:             ca. 500 B.C.
  • Culture:        Ancient Corinthian
  • Geography:  Greece
  • Medium:       Bronze
  • Museum:       Benaki Museum, Athens

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“Wonder is the beginning of wisdom.”
– Greek Proverb

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Photo Credit: 1) JOM