Bronze helmet of the Illyrian type

The so-called Illyrian helmet was one of many helmet types used in the Archaic period. It is a development of the Geometric type of helmet, and seems to have developed in the Peloponnese around 700 BC. It was used mainly in Macedonia and parts of the Balkans. It was made of a hammered bronze sheet and protected efficiently the sides of the face with long cheekpieces and the neck with the slightly raised neckpiece. By contrast to other helmet types (Corinthian, Chalcidian), it did not have a nosepiece. The holes along the edge of the helmet were for fastening the cloth lining inside. The two raised lines on the dome were for placing the crest.

Along the end of the right checkpiece there is an inscription in Corinthian alphabet reading: ΠΑΙΩΝΟΣ ΕΜΙ (I belong to Paion). In the Archaic period, it was common to add inscriptions on vases and other objects, which denoted the name of the owner. It is not clear who Paion was. If the helmet was a grave offering, Paion might have been the name of the dead warrior. If it was a votive in a shrine, the name could have referred to god Paion, probably an epithet of Apollo the healer.

– Αmandry P. 1971. ‘Collection Paul Canellopoulos (I). Armes et lébès de bronze’, Bulletin de correspondance hellénique 95, 585-626, esp. 589-597.
– Andreiomenou Α. 2006. Catalogue no. 122 in Choremi-Spetsieri Α. – Zarkadas Α. (eds), The Paul and Alexandra Canellopoulos Museum. Ancient Art, Athens, 198-199.