In Focus

Etruscan Corinthian-type helmet with boars

The following essay is from the 1996 publication Gods, Men, and Heroes: Ancient Art at the Dallas Museum of Art.

A south Italian adaptation of the Corinthian type of Greek helmet produced a smaller version in Etrusco-Apulian style. On this example, the double-pronged crest-mount is supported by two flat, oval-shaped extensions, which are fastened to the crown of the helmet by two rivets. The skullpiece is offset from the face and sides by a pronounced ridge, which drops diagonally from the forehead and runs beneath the large, embossed eyebrows and toward the rear of the helmet. The small, closely set eyeholes are outlined with an incised herringbone pattern between lines and a dot band, which continues around the narrow nose guard and along the edge of the cheekpieces. A pair of wild boars at bay confront each other on the cheekpieces. Their stiff bristles and stylized body markings are indicated with incising. A palmetto-like flower motif is incised on the outer edges of the eyeholes and on the sides of the helmet. A helmet liner was once anchored to the rivets in the crown and to a hole on either side of the helmet.

This helmet with its small holes was not worn over the face but pushed back on the head, exposing the face and allowing the otherwise horizontally flared neck guard to rest diagonally at a nearly parallel angle to the neck. The small notches on the sides of the helmet are reminiscent of larger ones on later Corinthian helmets; such notches prevented the lower neck or shoulders from being scraped when these helmets were worn over the entire head. Wild boars decorated some of the Corinthian helmet prototypes but occur more frequently on extant Apulian-Corinthian helmets. With its high crest, incised animal and floral motifs, and patternized subsidiary decoration, this helmet belongs to a large group of ceremonial armor of the type that was frequently placed in warriors' tombs. Its preservation is excellent and superior to most of the Apulian-Corinthian helmets that have survived.

Excerpt from

Anne R. Bromberg and Karl Kilinski II, Gods, Men, and Heroes: Ancient Art at the Dallas Museum of Art. (Seattle: University of Washington Press, 1996), 87-88.