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Corinthian Helmets

Corinthian Helmets - Museum of Cycladic Art, Athens - Joy of Museums

Corinthian Helmets

These bronze Corinthian Helmet originated in ancient Greece and took their name from the city-state of Corinth. This style became the most popular helmet during the Archaic and early Classical periods. The Corinthian style helmet appeared at the end of the 8th century BC and was the type worn by Greek soldiers in the Persian Wars. The earliest example is on the left and had a cylindrical shape. Gradually Corinthian helmets became more spherical to better fit the head.  They allowed larger nose-guards, check-pieces and neck-guard as can be seen with the middle helmet. The row of the small holes in the middle helmet was for attaching a leather lining. The ribs on the crown of the right helmet were for attaching a crest to the helmet.

The Corinthian helmet was the first helmet to be manufactured from a single bronze sheet. This technique resulted in more effective protection to every part of the head. 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 was depicted on pottery and more sculptures than any other helmet. In non-combat situations, the Greek hoplites 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 helmet called the Italo-Corinthian, with the characteristic nose guard and 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.

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?

Corinthian Helmets

  • Title:             Corinthian Helmet
  • Date:             early 7th to early 6th century BC
  • Culture:        Ancient Greek
  • Geography:  Greece
  • Medium:       Bronze
  • Museum:     Museum of Cycladic Art, Athens

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

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Photo Credit: 1) JOM