Bronze helmet from Greece, Europe. Part of the Pitt Rivers Museum Founding Collection. Given to the Museum in 1884.
This Ancient Greek bronze helmet is called a 'Corinthian helmet' by archaeologists because the goddess Athena is shown wearing this helmet on Corinthian coins from its period of use (3rd-7th century BC). This style of helmet was also frequently featured on the decorative vases. Notably, the Corinthian helmet was considered one of the first achievements of European material culture that had no stylistic antecedent in Asia Minor (Turkey) or North Africa.
There were two main drawbacks to the helmet: Firstly, it covered the ears so as to impede hearing and secondly, it was largely unfitted and cylindrical, often spinning when struck and effectively blinding the wearer. These problems were largely resolved by the 'Attic' helmet, which had become the preferred choice of Greek warriors by the time of the Peloponnesian Wars (431-404 BC). However, the simple, visual appeal of the M-shaped eye-holes and nose guard ensures it is a lasting symbol of Bronze Age Greece. In fact, in the 2004 film 'Troy' starring Brad Pitt, Achilles wears a Corinthian helmet like this for effect, even though the semi-mythical Trojan Wars in which Achilles fought are thought to have occurred about 500 years earlier.