Chalcidian-type war helmet

A bronze helmet produced by the technique of hammering a single sheet of bronze. Given its morphology it can be included in the group termed Chalcidian-type helmets. These are semi-spherical helmets with protecting panels over the cheeks, in this case, ones which are mobile and joined to the helmet with hinges. The back of the helmet falls straight down to protect the nape of the neck. There is a slightly raised edging decorating the perimeter of the helmet. And a loop-shaped cut-out area on either side of the helmet to allow space for the ears.

This piece has a completely straight front area leaving the face uncovered. In other examples, on the other hand, a projecting bar could be found between the cheek guards to protect the wearer’s nose. This could be longer or shorter depending on the place and period when the helmet was produced.

The helmet has holes pierced in each of the cheek guards to help secure an interior leather lining. In the upper area of the helmet decorations such as crests and other protuberances could usually be found, and were sometimes really of an exaggerated size. In this case, a slight mark can be seen where the decoration would have been placed.

It is believed that this type evolved from the Corinthian helmet. The improvements in design allowed better vision and hearing, and resulted in a lighter helmet, less bulky and more adaptable.

The Chalcidian-type helmet was used by ancient warriors in the Hellenic world. It was especially popular in Greece in the 5th and 4th centuries BC. Its use also spread to the Greek zones in the southern area of Italy. Its name comes from the city of Chalcis, capital of the Greek island, Euboea. It was the helmet most frequently depicted in figurative scenes on pottery vessels.

In Italy, helmets with fixed protective areas over the cheeks were named Chalcidian, while those with hinges were called Lucanian, as they were widely used in Lucania.


- Musée d'Art Classique de Mougins, France. This museum contains the largest known private collection of armour and weapons.

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