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Lot 0019
Northwestern Greece, ca. late 6th to 5th centuries BCE. A war helmet made of hammered bronze sheet, with a rectilinear opening for the face, long, pointed cheek pieces, and twin parallel ridges on the crown frame the crest. The back and sides flare out to guard the neck and have a border comrised of pseudo-rivets. The area above the forehead presents horizontal ridges just above the riveted border. Not only is the form very well preserved, but a rich, blue-green patina contributes to its beauty. These helmets were particularly popular in northern Greece, in the province of Illyria in modern day Balkans. They were made for hoplites, the citizen-soldiers of the Greek city states, who often furnished their own bronze armor. As a result, regional styles developed, and there is a great deal of variation in shape and form. Size: 9.5" L x 7.25" W x 10" H (24.1 cm x 18.4 cm x 25.4 cm); 20.125" H (51.1 cm) on included custom stand.

Armor was not just for battle, however. The pseudo-rivets on this example show that this was made for parades or to be worn in death - on a battle helmet, those rivets would have been real, to attach to a leather guard. Excavations at Sindos in Macedonia, a necropolis with the remains of Greek soldiers, have found that there was a standardized and probably ritualized method for burial. This included the placement of armor in carefully proscribed areas of the body. The helmet was placed over the head, along with a strip of gold over the mouth and possibly others over the eyes. See similar examples to this helmet from the Metropolitan Museum of Art (1992.180.1, 2006.221, 2003.407.6) and the Louvre (CA 2221Or).

Provenance: private East Coast, USA collection; ex-private New York, New York, USA collection, acquired in the 1990s

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Areas of repair and restoration to the rear section of helmet. See x-rays. Expected abrasions to areas and indentations commensurate with age. Perforations to ends of cheek pieces, top center above ridges, and back above neck guard, presumably to attach ornaments. Wonderful rich green and blue-green azurite patina.

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Greek Illyrian Bronze Hoplite Helmet

Estimate $25,000 - $32,500May 22