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Helmets: From The Weird To The Practical

Charles V’s Nemean Lion Parade burgonet. Made by Filippo Negroli in Milan c. 1541.

Helmets are as old as war itself and were some of the very first forms of protective equipment for those engaged in warfare. It’s known that even the most ancient empires that we study such as the Akkadians and Sumerians around 23rd Century BC used helmets. As warfare and weapons evolved, so did the helmets used to protect against them. Helmets made from leather, evolved into brass, bronze, steel and then to the complex modern fibres of today.

They also became a fancy instrument to use in parades and ceremonies after a while, which resulted in some interesting, maybe weird, designs as well.

Armored helmet made for Ferdinand II of Tyrol, Archduke of Austria, circa 16th century

Burgonet Helmet- 16th century

The Burgonet helmets were mostly used in Europe during the renaissance era. They had a characteristic ridge along the top of the head, starting at the forehead and curling back like a crest. Burgonets had no actual face protection and sometimes were used with falling buffs that cover the lower face and throat.

Burgonet with Falling Buffe and scenes of battle between the Lapiths and the Centaurs, c. 1555

Burgonet of Guidobaldo II della Rovere, Duke of Urbino, Milan, c. 1532-35

Frog-mouth Helmet- 15th Century

The Frog-mouth helmets, or Stechhelm which means jousting helmet in German, mostly were used by mounted knights in jousting tournaments rather than on battlefields. They are used around 1400 and lasted into the first quarter of the 16th century. These helmets were called that way because of their looking.

Henry VIII’s Horned Helmet

The Horned helmet was actually a gift by the Holy Roman Emperor Maximilian I to Henry VIII. It was a part of a suit of armour but the rest of the suit has disappeared. This unordinary-looking helmet was crafted by Konrad Seusenhofer who was an Austrian goldsmith working for Maximilian I. It was designed to use in parades rather than battlefields.

The Ceremonial And Parade Helmets Of Charles V

Holy Roman Emperor Charles V’s helmet. It was crafted by Felippo Negroli of Milan, c. 1540

Emperor Charles V’s helmet. It was crafted by Desiderius Helmschmid, who was a member of the Helmschmieds of Augsburg which was one of late medieval Europe’s foremost families of armorers, c.1540.

Emperor Charles V’s burgonet helmet. It was crafted by Kolman Helmschmidc who was also a member of the Helmschmieds of Augsburg, c. 1530

Extremely rare Anglo-Saxon Helmet of gold and silver from the 7th century

Extremely rare Anglo-Saxon Helmet of gold and silver from the 7th century reconstructed from fragments found near Lichfield, England. The Staffordshire Hoard is the largest collection of Anglo-Saxon gold and silver ever discovered, held by the Birmingham Museums Trust.

Samurai Helmet

Samurai Helmet Samurai helmet(Kawari Kabuto) with buffalo horns, ears, and a devilish mask.

Roman Helmet of a Secutor

Roman helmet of a secutor – a kind of gladiator who usually fought against a retiarius. The object was found in the Ludus Gladiatorius barracks in Pompeii.

Vendel Helmet

Previking’s warrior helmet found in the grave. 7th century AD, Sweden

Corinthian Helmet- 8th century B.C.E

The Corinthian helmets were used mostly by Spartans and Trojans. These helmets had huge cheek plates and a long nasal covering most of the face. The Corinthian helmets were made of bronze generally.


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