GREEK HELMETS IN THE HIGGINS ARMORY MUSEUM, Worcester, MA                12/1/04

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       The Higgins Museum has 8 Corinthian helmets, seven in one case and one in its own.  The seven are arranged roughly chronologically, and I have numbered them 1 through 7 from oldest to youngest.  Most show damage (probably post-usage) or have holes or missing portions.  I'll make comparisons to similar helmets in Greece and Rome at War, pp. 60-61.  Unfortunately, I was unable to get any photos.

       One crucial bit of information is on one of the labels: "Most Corinthian helmets weighed two to four pounds without crests."  Aha!  Data!  Not very specific, but it's something.  If it's correct, this is pretty darn light--I would have guessed 4 to 6 pounds--but it is clear that heavier guesses are incorrect.  The edges of the metal, where there are holes have opened up, are very thin.  It doesn't seem practical to dismiss that thinness as centuries of corrosion, since all the detailed embossing and engraving is still sharp and undamaged.    All these helmets have smoothly rounded tops, not a medial ridge--someone asked me recently why mine and Tom's don't have ridges.  (Actually, I have yet to see an original that does!)  None of them has a point at the back of the rim.

   #1 is the oldest, 650-600 BC, similar to Connolly #9.  The nasal is very straight and rectangular, and flairs at the top where it is RIVETED on!  It could be a repair, but is very clevery and subtly done.

   #4 clearly has rather thick metal at the nasal and cheekpieces.   A couple others seem to, but might just have thicker or turned-back edges.

   #5 has a rather vague ridge where the bowl meets the sides, and a bold set of eyebrows that actually cross the ridge!  (Sort of like Connolly's #11.)  There was more embossed decoration at the center front of the bowl, now mostly a large hole.

   On #6 the ridge is also fairly vague, but in the center front it dips down to a point instead of up (Connolly #14 and #17).

   #2 and #3 both seem to have one or two rivets at the front of the bowl, probably for crest attachments, but there are no surviving crest fittings or visible solder marks.

   #7's bowl is "bullet" shaped, taller than the other rounder ones.  The cheekpieces are very close together, probably due at least in part to post-loss squashing.  The gap is about a quarter inch at the bottom, and at the top the right cheekpiece is actually bent out slightly where it has collided with the nasal.  The nasal itself is small and slim.

     Helmet #8 is on its own in a different case, and dates to c. 550 BC.  At the top of the bowl are 2 pairs of small holes about 2 inches apart; the holes in each pair are about a quarter inch apart (front to back) and c. 1/16" in diameter.  Running through each pair of holes is a wire loop or ring--these must be crest attachments.  At the center back of the neckguard, near the edge, is an irregular hole c. 3/8" in diameter which could just be damage, but could have been a rivet hole.

       The Higgins Armory Museum website is at

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