THE ARMOUR OF THE SEA PEOPLES WARRIORS.
PART ONE: THE HORNED-HELMETS OF THE SEA PEOPLES WARRIORS.
Horned Helmeted Warrior from the Sea Battle Frieze Medinet Habu, (from THE SEA PEOPLES – Warriors of the Ancient Mediterranean, N.K Sanders).
In this entry I will be solely dealing with my intentions to outline the areas I will cover concerning the Armour of the Sea Peoples warriors, named primarily from Egyptian and Aegean sources.
I have found the issue of Armour to be a most perplexing one when dealing with the Sea Peoples warriors depicted primarily on the Mortuary temple at Medinet Habu.
They represent the greatest amount of ‘solid’ visually artistic data one can ask for on the subject yet by their very presence they leave us guessing, for those fascinated by the subject, as to the overwhelming lack of a single identifiable piece of armour linking the Sea Peoples warriors to these events.
Their material composition and manufacture processes I believe are fundamental in understanding the origins of the Sea Peoples and the reasoning and methodology behind the creation of such unique and totally separate design philosophy in Bronze Age Armour not seen in any of the cultures contemporary with them.
The Great Temple of Ramses III at Medinet Habu, Viewed from the North-East. (From the Medient Habu Reports: II THE ARCHITECTURAL SURVEY 1929/30).
I am endlessly surprised by the amount of and sub-types of armour worn by these warrior peoples, not just from Medinet Habu but from other similar Egyptian sources covering the periods of Contact Egypt had with these ‘Migrating Populations’ and the near disastrous confrontations and weakening effects they had on the Egyptian civilization.
Yet they leave us with no direct physical evidence as to a single sample of their Armour by which to gain any concrete evidence as to the origins and processes of manufacture, in fact so little in the way of proof is available one could be mistaken for believing that at any point some or all components of the ‘Armour’ of such warriors had any metal composition at all!
For every major culture during the Bronze Age we have a clearly define understanding of who is who, when we are, for example presented with Egyptian temple, funeral and tomb carvings which include wall paintings of warriors, traders, ambassadors and their entourages of virtually all relevant cultures from every known civilization of the time.
Armour as a Cultural Identifier.
The Hittite military forces for example and the successors the Neo-Hittites are clearly discernible by the unique style of armour they wear. The same can be said for Egyptian Military, the Mycenaeans, Minoans, Minyans, Pelassgoi, Salagassoi, Syrian–Levantine, Mittanni and Ammuru, Elam and Babylonian, Judaic and Canaanite Hill Tribes, the Kingdom of Israel, Sizu and Phoenicia, the Temehu, Tehenu and Rebu-Libyan tribes, the Tribes of Kush Nubia and Punt, and those Peripheral Cultures known to us as the Arzawa, Seha River Lands, Dardania, Teuthrania, Wilusa and Assuwa, Millawanda, Lukka, Keftiu, Kaska, Hayasa, Ishuwa, Ahhiyawa, Alashiya, Kizzuwatna, Nesa, Kusshar, the Hurrian Kingdoms, Uratu, Assyria and Alshe, Aram, Aramean tribes, Ammon, Aram, Moab, Nabatu, Edom and Arubu, In fact we are clearer as to whom is who now than at any other time.
In fact anyone who is anyone in the Bronze Age Period has their own distinct Design Philosophy and methodology when it comes to armour.
This is inherently borne out of the environment in which these cultures and civilizations inhabit but which will also be affected to some extent to include cross fertilizations of designs in Armour and Arms as cultural exchange took place through well-established trade-routes and as well as adoption in foreign cultural military practices.
Chaos amongst the Enemies of Egypt, Sea Peoples Warriors from the Naval battle Frieze at Medinet Habu, (from THE SEA PEOPLES – Warriors of the Ancient Mediterranean, N.K Sanders).
Adaptation to styles of fighting coupled to environmental conditions, Such as that found in Egypt for example precipitate certain design methodologies in Body Armour, there is no more evident examples when it comes to the ‘armour’ worn by the Libyan tribesmen – the bear minimum in protection coupled to what is absolutely required to get the job done in such environmental conditions coupled to unique tribal dress, such is self-evident from the Egyptian sources where the searing Saharan desert heat precludes the use of any form of cumbersome and heavy metallic armour that would literally cause a soldier to collapse from heat exhaustion in moments let alone be able to fight any length of time in it.
Libyan Chieftains fleeing before the Pharaoh’s Onslaught, Medinet Habu (From the Medinet Habu Reports: I THE EPIGRAPHIC SURVEY 1928-31).
Thankfully through all the astonishing wealth of surviving Egyptian archaeological material which represents every conceivable culture it had connections to or at any point was in conflict with as well as cultural and economic exchange with we have intimate access to these Bronze Age Mediterranean world cultures and the associated and adjoining lands to them.
Captive Sea Peoples Warriors, lead away as prisoners of War in shackles, (From the Medient Habu Reports: I THE EPIGRAPHIC SURVEY 1928-31).
Yet, for some un-be-known reason or wall of silence and for all the archaeological information available to us, regardless of the lack of actual physical evidence for Sea People warrior armour, asides from stone reliefs, there seems to be a lack of willingness or ability to give a definitive Name and Place to the Sea Peoples depicted in the Naval and Land Battle friezes at Medinet Habu, even when Egyptian sources tell us of the Lands from which the Sea Peoples originated from and Scholars past show us the overwhelming information in support of this.
The Aftermath of defeat: Bound Libyan Chieftains lead away, not the colour preservation of the Libyan’s garments, (From satrapminiatures.blogspot.co.uk).
To some extent this is understandable, but in others it is most definitely not the way to approach such a matter by refusing or holding back to ‘nailing your colours to the mast’ so to speak. Errors and mistakes as well as perceptions and conceived notion in such a field of Bronze Age Archaeology as weapons and armour are constantly made but only through a process of elimination and re-evaluation are we are left with the only possible conclusions.
Captive Libyan, Canaanite/Syrian and Sea Peoples warriors, from Medinet Habu, (From satrapminiatures.blogspot.co.uk).
Even if we use a simple process of elimination and common sense there remains very little obvious, as well as not so obvious, geographical locations as to where the actual ‘Home-Land/s’ of these distinct and unique peoples may be located when we use the example of the origins of armour as a cultural identifier.
Close-up of a Syrian Prisoner from Abu Simbel, (From satrapminiatures.blogspot.co.uk).
The material I will be presenting in forthcoming articles will further re-iterate my method of reasoning and help the reader to understand how and why I am deriving my conclusions.
For a full picture as to the origins, as to where the lands of the Sea Peoples where and whom they actually are, armour alone cannot be the single decider, but it is the most unique and tangible starter, a ‘physical’ example through the reliefs at Medinet Habu to start with, in the issue I am putting forward to determine the identity and ancestral Homeland of these peoples.
A Tehenu Libyan Prisoner from Sahures Pyramid Complex. ( From www.egyptsearch.com).
As so many other attributes need to be considered also such as cultural and linguistic factors which need to be taken into account, both of which will be covered in later articles but which fall far out of the scope of and are not part of the remit of this article to cover at this moment in time, and do not necessarily help to convey the issue of armour as a cultural identifier.
Captive Peleset Sea Peoples Warriors from Medinet Habu. (Source Uknown).
I hope that the material I will be presenting will become a unique journey into the Armour of the Sea Peoples and of the Bronze Age in general and that the reader and follower alike find it both stimulating and entertaining.
Exquisitely preserved colour faience tiles from the Palace of Rameses III at Medinet Habu 20th Dynasty 12th century B.C. now at the Egyptian Museum Cairo depicting from left to right: Libyan Nubian Syrian Habiru/Hebrew/Shasu and Hittite captives. (From www.egyptsearch.com).
To all those who share a fascination in such a subject I will hopefully act as a guide and further increase your fascination of the Bronze Age enigma that is the Sea Peoples.
Captive INTIU SETI from the Eastern Desert Hills – NW RED SEA, KEFTIU S&E AEGEAN from CRETE/CYPRUS SE ANATOLIA and IREM from RAS DASHAN – SUDAN West of ERITREA at ETHIOPIA. (From www.egyptsearch.com).
It is my intention to explore the most tangible yet elusive aspect of these enigmatic people – their Armour.
I will state here categorically, that this is by no means a completed body of work as yet more archaeological discoveries on the subject and related fields will most certainly, but slowly, come to light that shed yet more facts on the on this subject.
In this new topic on the Armour of the Sea Peoples I hope to resolve with a degree of certainty issues relating to accuracy of material composition and manufacture that I hope will endeavour to shed new light on the origins of these enigmatic and ancient peoples.
I will also endeavour to show , to a limited degree, that these movements through whatever processes actually brought them about were designed well in advance to act as safety measures for the preservation and furthering of their own unique identity as a people, way of life and culture.
As a note to the reader, I am well aware that such material will almost certainly gather comments from across the board but the material to be presented has finite limits in terms of what such areas as actual material composition and manufacturing processes were used can actually cover.
- Reconstruction through Visual Analysis.
Through the process of using representations of their armour and various associated attire along with an approach of logical and analytical reasoning of the processes required in their material composition and manufacture I hope to convey further definitive proof and add strength to my argument as I present more material as to what I strongly believe to be the actual home-Lands of the Sea Peoples and their actual origins.
According to all the research I have gathered, studied and drawn conclusions from throughout the material I have presented on LAKODAEMON, so well accounted for in my last entry from H.R. Hall – “The Sea Raiders – Part 8: THE EA RAIDERS IN THE LEVANT: THE TWELFTH CENTURY AND AFTER” and also the material I am about to present, I hope that this will lend to a clearer view as to what we perceive as the ”movement” or “Migration” of certain proportions of Peoples in the late Aegean Bronze Age.
- The Developed approach.
By using my own developed approach to dealing with this subject matter I hope to leave the reader with a much clearer and greater appreciation of what it must have been like to be a member of these societies embarking on what I believe to be a methodical and pre-calculated movement of peoples to well-known agriculturally fertile and resource-rich regions for the sole purpose of using ‘colonization’ as a means for economic and industrial expansion.
- Challenging perceived notions.
I will also aim to show, as anyone who has delved into this fascinating subject knows, our understanding and appreciation of such topics develops with time as certain perceived notions are replaced with actual archaeological evidence that test and in some cases refutes previous notions.
- Improve Understanding of Bronze Age Armour.
To accomplish a better understanding of the Armour of these warrior Peoples so stunningly brought to life by Egyptian Artistic stone masonry, through the previous three points mentioned above and the attempt to standardize a methodology of approach to analysis of Bronze Age Armour of the Aegean world.
- Accurate Artistic Reproduction.
I will present the closest and most accurate appearance of the armour used by these warriors through the most evident and vivid, yet elusive, information we have at our disposable, the Medinet Habu friezes and numerous Egyptian and Aegean sources.
- Understand Art through the Stone Masons Art and artistic Conventions.
I will also be exploring Egyptian stone masonry and artistic conventions at the time these carvings were set into stone, so to speak, and present the reader with a clear understanding of how the events of the Naval and Land Battle friezes at Medinet Habu should be seen and understood.
I have developed, through careful analysis, of the requirements needed to produce as full an authoritative account of my Aims the following carefully defined and considered objectives.
I also consider these points to be as complete a coverage, as our current understanding allows, of the important and vital factors in developing a full and authoritative picture of the Armour used by the Sea Peoples Warriors.
- The Illustrative Reconstruction Approach.
- Material Composition of Armour – Materials used and Why.
- Construction methods used- A step by step approach and its Limitations.
- The Design importance of shape as Defensive Armour – illustrated.
- The Design importance of shape as Offensive Armour – illustrated.
- Segmented Body Armour vs. Plate Embossed Body Armour or both – Analysis.
- Movement Vision and Hearing – The Key to Combat Effectiveness through Design optimization.
- Armour as an effective defensive weapon against Bronze Age Weapon Design.
- The Arms Race – How Sea Peoples Armour May have Developed and the Reasons why.
- Velocity & KE vs PE – The importance of Design in Energy Conservation and application in combat.
These ten objectives will be used extensively throughout the forthcoming material.
Arms & Trade.
When dealing with a topic such as the Bronze Age Armour of the Sea peoples, especially when not a single piece of armour has ever been recovered for us from antiquity then we have to provide an alternative foundation on which to start from.
The Battle of Kadesh, relief at Abydos. Egyptian foot soldiers are facing Hittite chariots; to the right a Shardana (foreign mercenary) of Ramesses II’s troops, armed with a shield and short pointed dirk is severing the hand of a fallen enemy in a long robe( the Shardana helmet here is the earliest form of simple rounded cap with a disc or ball between the horns). The Abydos reliefs were made shortly after the battle itself. (From THE SEA PEOPLES – Warriors of the Ancient Mediterranean, N.K Sanders).
We then have to approach the situation from a logical and common sense perspective and analyse through indirect means using the closest possible, and contemporary, examples with Sea Peoples Armour, forms known from cultures which must have been in contact with the Sea Peoples in order to help build an accurate and fuller picture of what we actually term as armour worn by these warriors.
The Sea Peoples warriors wore armour which can only best be described as belonging to both Aegean and Western and Southern Asia Minor, an amalgam of both what appears to be at times Mycenaean and yet in other instances Minoan/colonial Minoan.
By this I mean that what we consider to be the geographical extent of Minoan culture outside of perceived wisdom which has Crete as the source and several central Aegean Isles as its major satellites, has now become very clear to me as having encompasses a far larger expanse of territory than I had ever envisaged.
The connection with Crete and the peoples of Western and southern Asia Minor Is one I believe will eventually reveal itself once our understanding of the connection between Linear-A and Luwian is established, this will only come when Linear-A is deciphered and the tribal connection between these peoples is established.
Map depicting Minoan Palaces and Minoan cultural influence/Colonies at the known Height of Late Minoan Civilization (LM 1A – LMII ca. 1550-1450 BC). This map illustrates Minoan trade and colonization routes for their own empire only. The Minoans also carried on extensive trade all over th Mediterranean, as far as Egypt, Troy, Cyprus and Phoenicia etc. (Source Unknown).
I strongly advocate the view that the Term “Keftiu – Crete or Cilicia” Used by G.A. Wainwright in his 1931 Publication Should now, in terms of what we now know, be re-written as “Keftiu – Crete in Cilicia” or better still “Keftiu – Crete & Cilicia”.
Cultural & Economic Exchange.
The Kefti (Cretans/Minoans) bring tributes to Egypt. The Tomb of Rekhmire, Governor of Thebes, and Vizier during the reign of Tuthmosis III and Amenhotep II – 18th Dynasty, circa 1400 B.C. (From www.egyptsearch.com).
It would be an unenlightened mind indeed who believes that after so many centuries of dominance and cultural exchange and trade expansion by the Minoan thallasocracy in all directions that the Minoans did not find their way into colonising the coastal regions of southern Asia Minor and the most northerly extent of Syria, to whatever degree that might have taken shape as.
A Reconstruction of the Megaron at the Mycenaean palace of Pylos.
A reconstruction of the Palace of Knossos.
An early reconstruction of the ‘Room of the Dolphins’ at the Palace of Knossos.
An early reconstruction of the Griffon Throne Room of Minos at the Palace of Knossos, by Edwin J. Lambert.
Front shot view of the Griffon Throne of Minos at the Palace of Knossos.
A beautiful ‘restoration’ of one of the Griffons of the Griffon Throne Room of Minos at the Palace of Knossos.
Another shot of the beautiful ‘restoration’ of one of the Griffon Throne Room of Minos at the Palace of Knossos.
A map of important Minoan Trade Routes throughout the Eastern and Western halves of the Mediterranean Sea.
A map of the Nile Delta with the Location of Avaris, Tell El-Dab’a.
A map of the natural watercources in the north-eastern Delta in the environment of Avaris, Tell El-Dab’a. (From TAUREADOR SCENES in TELL EL-DAB’A (AVARIS) AND KNOSSOS. By Manfred Bietak, Nanno Marinatos and Clairy Palivou, (2006).
The position of the citadel of the late Hyksos Period and the early 18th Dynasty in the context of the topography of Avaris (after dorner’s survey 1990). (From TAUREADOR SCENES in TELL EL-DAB’A (AVARIS) AND KNOSSOS. By Manfred Bietak, Nanno Marinatos and Clairy Palivou, (2006) and (www.auaris.at).
A Geophysical survey of the citadel based on the survey of T. Herbich & J. Dorner 2001. (from www.auaris.at).
The far bigger palace G in area H/II-III MEASURES 320 x 150 cubits (168 x 78.75 m) It is nearly completely excavated and has been extensively surveyed by geophysical methods. It shows similarities to parts of the “Northern Palace” at Deir el-Ballas. (from www.auaris.at).
Indication of a large artificial lake P between Palace F and Palace G. (From TAUREADOR SCENES in TELL EL-DAB’A (AVARIS) AND KNOSSOS. By Manfred Bietak, Nanno Marinatos and Clairy Palivou, (2006) and (www.auaris.at).
From Palace F in area H/I only a platform substructure has been preserved. Its dimensions are 135 x 90 cubits (c.70.5 x 47 m = ratio 1.5: 1). (From TAUREADOR SCENES in TELL EL-DAB’A (AVARIS) AND KNOSSOS. By Manfred Bietak, Nanno Marinatos and Clairy Palivou, (2006) and (www.auaris.at).
From Palace F in area H/I only a platform substructure has been preserved. Its dimensions are 135 x 90 cubits (c.70.5 x 47 m = ratio 1.5: 1). (From TAUREADOR SCENES in TELL EL-DAB’A (AVARIS) AND KNOSSOS. By Manfred Bietak, Nanno Marinatos and Clairy Palivou, (2006) and (www.auaris.at).
A reconstruction of the upper floor of Palace G and J and of the stairways and magazines in the ground floor. (From TAUREADOR SCENES in TELL EL-DAB’A (AVARIS) AND KNOSSOS. By Manfred Bietak, Nanno Marinatos and Clairy Palivou, (2006) and (www.auaris.at).
A reconstruction of the Tuthmoside palace district from survey and excavation records, looking at Palace G from the North-East at an elevated position. (from www.auaris.at).
Another reconstruction of the Tuthmoside palace district from survey and excavation records, looking at Palace G from the North-East at a lower angle. (From TAUREADOR SCENES in TELL EL-DAB’A (AVARIS) AND KNOSSOS. By Manfred Bietak, Nanno Marinatos and Clairy Palivou, (2006).
The Long frieze of Bull leaping and Bull grappling scenes, one part against the background of a maze pattern (above). The upper background is red as is customary in the early phase of the Late Palace Period. On the right part one can recognise two blue-speckled bulls and two reddish-yellow speckled bulls with yellow acrobats; there is also one instance of a white acrobat of bigger size than his counterparts in the Taureador-frieze at Knossos. Of special importance is the presence of emblems of the Minoan palace such as the half-rosette frieze at the base of the taureador frieze with the maze pattern. From (www.auaris.at).
Reconstruction of the Bull and Maze frieze with inverted landscape. (From TAUREADOR SCENES in TELL EL-DAB’A (AVARIS) AND KNOSSOS. By Manfred Bietak, Nanno Marinatos and Clairy Palivou, (2006).
Second half of the Reconstruction of the Bull and Maze frieze with inverted landscape. (From TAUREADOR SCENES in TELL EL-DAB’A (AVARIS) AND KNOSSOS. By Manfred Bietak, Nanno Marinatos and Clairy Palivou, (2006) and (www.auaris.at).
Alternate version of the Bull and Maze frieze with the reconstruction of a white acrobat above the upper blue-speckled bull. (From TAUREADOR SCENES in TELL EL-DAB’A (AVARIS) AND KNOSSOS. By Manfred Bietak, Nanno Marinatos and Clairy Palivou, (2006) and (www.auaris.at).
Mid-section to the Alternate version of the Bull and Maze frieze with the reconstruction of brown acrobats above the upper brown-speckled bulls. (From TAUREADOR SCENES in TELL EL-DAB’A (AVARIS) AND KNOSSOS. By Manfred Bietak, Nanno Marinatos and Clairy Palivou, (2006).
Second half of the Alternate version of the Bull and Maze frieze with the reconstruction of a white acrobat above the upper blue-speckled bull. (From TAUREADOR SCENES in TELL EL-DAB’A (AVARIS) AND KNOSSOS. By Manfred Bietak, Nanno Marinatos and Clairy Palivou, (2006).
Reconstruction of the Beige frieze, to the left of the Bull and Maize Frieze. (From TAUREADOR SCENES in TELL EL-DAB’A (AVARIS) AND KNOSSOS. By Manfred Bietak, Nanno Marinatos and Clairy Palivou, (2006).
Second half of the Reconstruction of the Beige frieze, to the left of the Bull and Maize Frieze. (From TAUREADOR SCENES in TELL EL-DAB’A (AVARIS) AND KNOSSOS. By Manfred Bietak, Nanno Marinatos and Clairy Palivou, (2006).
Other motives were hunting scenes with lions attacking a white black-speckled Bull. From (www.auaris.at).
This motive depicts a lion giving chase. From (www.auaris.at).
This motive depicts a leopard giving chase. From (www.auaris.at).
Hind legs of the same Leopard in flying gallop over reeds (wall-plaster, fragment). From Egypt, the Aegean and the Levant, Interconnections in the Second Millennium BC, Edited by W. Vivian Davies and Louise Schofield, 1995).
Equally important is the presence of big emblematic griffins of the same size as In the Throne Room of Knossos where they flank the throne. Their iconography with the hanging spirals is purely Minoan. As in Knossos they may signify the throne of the “Mistress of Animals”. i.e. the Queen, as suggested by eminent Minoan Scholars. One may expect the griffins within a throne room of Palace F. This room also seems fitting for a floor painting with a maze pattern. From (www.auaris.at).
Reconstruction of a leaping Minoan griffin based on fragments. Equally important is the presence of big emblematic griffins of the same size as In the Throne Room of Knossos where they flank the throne. Their iconography with the hanging spirals is purely Minoan. As in Knossos they may signify the throne of the “Mistress of Animals”. i.e. the Queen, as suggested by eminent Minoan Scholars. One may expect the griffins within a throne room of Palace F. This room also seems fitting for a floor painting with a maze pattern. From (www.auaris.at).
Equally important is the presence of big emblematic griffins of the same size as In the Throne Room of Knossos where they flank the throne. Their iconography with the hanging spirals is purely Minoan. As in Knossos they may signify the throne of the “Mistress of Animals”. i.e. the Queen, as suggested by eminent Minoan Scholars. One may expect the griffins within a throne room of Palace F. This room also seems fitting for a floor painting with a maze pattern. From TAUREADOR SCENES in TELL EL-DAB’A (AVARIS) AND KNOSSOS. By Manfred Bietak, Nanno Marinatos and Clairy Palivou, (2006) and (www.auaris.at).
Preliminary reconstruction of a part of the floor with a maze pattern most probably from the throne room of palace F. From TAUREADOR SCENES in TELL EL-DAB’A (AVARIS) AND KNOSSOS. By Manfred Bietak, Nanno Marinatos and Clairy Palivou, (2006).
Study of the steps of planning and painting the maze pattern (by C.Palyvou). From TAUREADOR SCENES in TELL EL-DAB’A (AVARIS) AND KNOSSOS. By Manfred Bietak, Nanno Marinatos and Clairy Palivou, (2006).
The maze pattern of Knossos next to the Tell el-Dab’a maze. The Tell el-Dab’a maze projected on the Knossos maze (realization by Nicola Math). From TAUREADOR SCENES in TELL EL-DAB’A (AVARIS) AND KNOSSOS. By Manfred Bietak, Nanno Marinatos and Clairy Palivou, (2006).
Keftiu delegation from the tomb of Senenmut at Thebes (after DORMAN 1991).From TAUREADOR SCENES in TELL EL-DAB’A (AVARIS) AND KNOSSOS. By Manfred Bietak, Nanno Marinatos and Clairy Palivou, (2006).
Ceiling patterns with Minoan motifs in the tomb of Senenmut (after DORMAN 1991).From TAUREADOR SCENES in TELL EL-DAB’A (AVARIS) AND KNOSSOS. By Manfred Bietak, Nanno Marinatos and Clairy Palivou, (2006).
Plaster fragment with painting of feet of a lady with double anklets, found at the entrance to the palace precinct near the ramp of Palace G. From TAUREADOR SCENES in TELL EL-DAB’A (AVARIS) AND KNOSSOS. By Manfred Bietak, Nanno Marinatos and Clairy Palivou, (2006) and (www.auaris.at).
Bull-Leaper against the background of a maze-pattern (wall-plaster of lime, fragment F4). Reconstruction by Lyla Pinch-Brock. From Egypt, the Aegean and the Levant, Interconnections in the Second Millennium BC, Edited by W. Vivian Davies and Louise Schofield, 1995).
Part of wings of a griffin (wall-plaster F15). From Egypt, the Aegean and the Levant, Interconnections in the Second Millennium BC, Edited by W. Vivian Davies and Louise Schofield, 1995).
Griffin from Xeste 3 at Thera, courtesy of the Thera Foundation, after Doumas 1992. From Egypt, the Aegean and the Levant, Interconnections in the Second Millennium BC, Edited by W. Vivian Davies and Louise Schofield, 1995).
Maze-Pattern with a blue rectangle (wall-plaster, fragment F24). From Egypt, the Aegean and the Levant, Interconnections in the Second Millennium BC, Edited by W. Vivian Davies and Louise Schofield, 1995).
Bull-Leaper (wall-plaster, fragment F4). From Egypt, the Aegean and the Levant, Interconnections in the Second Millennium BC, Edited by W. Vivian Davies and Louise Schofield, 1995).
Fleeing antelopes attacked by dog in a river landscape (wall-plaster, fragment F33). From Egypt, the Aegean and the Levant, Interconnections in the Second Millennium BC, Edited by W. Vivian Davies and Louise Schofield, 1995).
Acrobat performing beside a palm tree (wall-plaster, fragment F7). From Egypt, the Aegean and the Levant, Interconnections in the Second Millennium BC, Edited by W. Vivian Davies and Louise Schofield, 1995).
Bearded man, probably a priest (wall-plaster, fragment F6). Drawing by Lyla Pinch-Brock. From Egypt, the Aegean and the Levant, Interconnections in the Second Millennium BC, Edited by W. Vivian Davies and Louise Schofield, 1995).
Exhausted and defeated bull with a taureador in front teasing him and a second one grasping the bull’s head and resting his chin on the animal’s forehead – at the end of a bull-game? (wall-plaster, fragment F3). From Egypt, the Aegean and the Levant, Interconnections in the Second Millennium BC, Edited by W. Vivian Davies and Louise Schofield, 1995).
Composite bull from fragments (Cat.nos. A13 : F4, A9 : F102, A33 : F24, F101, F147) to get a model bull (after Palyvou 2000a). From TAUREADOR SCENES in TELL EL-DAB’A (AVARIS) AND KNOSSOS. By Manfred Bietak, Nanno Marinatos and Clairy Palivou, (2006).
Hind legs of a blue-speckled bull on top of the blue band of the half-rosette frieze: photo and computer graph (A33 : F24,F101, F147). Scale 1:2. From TAUREADOR SCENES in TELL EL-DAB’A (AVARIS) AND KNOSSOS. By Manfred Bietak, Nanno Marinatos and Clairy Palivou, (2006).
Fragment of a reddish-yellow-speckled bull, broken-down, with two toreadors (Cat.nos. A3 :F3, F19, F192) from the end of the Beige frieze, photo and computer reconstruction. From TAUREADOR SCENES in TELL EL-DAB’A (AVARIS) AND KNOSSOS. By Manfred Bietak, Nanno Marinatos and Clairy Palivou, (2006).
Reconstruction of bull-leaping using horn-hangers (drawing by L. Pinch-Brock and M.A. Negrete Martinez, after Bietak, Hein et al. 1994: 199). From TAUREADOR SCENES in TELL EL-DAB’A (AVARIS) AND KNOSSOS. By Manfred Bietak, Nanno Marinatos and Clairy Palivou, (2006).
Computer graph reconstruction of a black-speckled bull against red background, running to the left (Cat. No. A53 : F148, F149, F920). From TAUREADOR SCENES in TELL EL-DAB’A (AVARIS) AND KNOSSOS. By Manfred Bietak, Nanno Marinatos and Clairy Palivou, (2006).
Detailed photograph of Knossos Taureador, Herakleion Museum (photo J. Papadakis). From TAUREADOR SCENES in TELL EL-DAB’A (AVARIS) AND KNOSSOS. By Manfred Bietak, Nanno Marinatos and Clairy Palivou, (2006).
A reconstruction by N. Marinatos and C. Palyvou. The breasts reconstructed by E. Gillieron are omitted. From TAUREADOR SCENES in TELL EL-DAB’A (AVARIS) AND KNOSSOS. By Manfred Bietak, Nanno Marinatos and Clairy Palivou, (2006).
Bull-Leaping scenes from Knossos. From TAUREADOR SCENES in TELL EL-DAB’A (AVARIS) AND KNOSSOS. By Manfred Bietak, Nanno Marinatos and Clairy Palivou, (2006).
Bull-Leaping scenes from Tell el-Dab’a. From TAUREADOR SCENES in TELL EL-DAB’A (AVARIS) AND KNOSSOS. By Manfred Bietak, Nanno Marinatos and Clairy Palivou, (2006).
All the Knossos taureadors: large white and slender red figures. From TAUREADOR SCENES in TELL EL-DAB’A (AVARIS) AND KNOSSOS. By Manfred Bietak, Nanno Marinatos and Clairy Palivou, (2006).
Large white taureador figures, detailed look. From TAUREADOR SCENES in TELL EL-DAB’A (AVARIS) AND KNOSSOS. By Manfred Bietak, Nanno Marinatos and Clairy Palivou, (2006).
Large white and slender red taureador figures, detailed look. From TAUREADOR SCENES in TELL EL-DAB’A (AVARIS) AND KNOSSOS. By Manfred Bietak, Nanno Marinatos and Clairy Palivou, (2006).
Slender red and a Large white taureador figures, detailed look From TAUREADOR SCENES in TELL EL-DAB’A (AVARIS) AND KNOSSOS. By Manfred Bietak, Nanno Marinatos and Clairy Palivou, (2006).
Large white taureador figures, detailed look From TAUREADOR SCENES in TELL EL-DAB’A (AVARIS) AND KNOSSOS. By Manfred Bietak, Nanno Marinatos and Clairy Palivou, (2006).
Reconstruction of a composition, probably showing a bull and a cow (Cat. No. A55 : F201, A59 : F302, A58 ; F170, A54 : F116, A56 : F203, A57 : F301), reconstruction by C. Palyvou, realisation L. Zelenkova. From TAUREADOR SCENES in TELL EL-DAB’A (AVARIS) AND KNOSSOS. By Manfred Bietak, Nanno Marinatos and Clairy Palivou, (2006).
Development of the Vapheio cup B (after Evans 1930: 179, fig. 123A, drawing V. Pliatsika. From TAUREADOR SCENES in TELL EL-DAB’A (AVARIS) AND KNOSSOS. By Manfred Bietak, Nanno Marinatos and Clairy Palivou, (2006).
Close-up of the actual Vapheio Cup B, central image.
Development of Vapheio cup A (after EVANS 1930: fig. 123A, drawing by V. Pliatsika). From TAUREADOR SCENES in TELL EL-DAB’A (AVARIS) AND KNOSSOS. By Manfred Bietak, Nanno Marinatos and Clairy Palivou, (2006).
An illustrated reconstruction of the main Bull Hunting scene from the Vapheio Cup A, depicting the netting used to snare the Bull and an unfortunate hunter gored on the horns of an escaping Bull whilst his comrade is trampled underfoot. From Greek Legends – The Stories The Evidence by Peter Connolly.
Another Close-up of the actual Vapheio Cup B, left image.
Close-up of the actual Vapheio Cup A, right-side image.
Another Close-up of the actual Vapheio Cup A, central image.
White Faience plaque with cartouches prenomen of Amenhotep III (1386 to 1349 BC) during the 18th Dynasty in Egypt. Found in the Cult Center Room 31 (the room with the wall paintings).
Drawing of the proper orientation of the same two Egyptian plaque fragments of the Mycenae cartouche illustration.
That when we now have evidence that the Minoans were active in the Northern corner of the Aegean. (From the excellent Publication – The Minoans in the Central, Eastern and Northern Aegean — New Evidence. Edited by Colin F. Macdonoald, Eric Hallager & Wolf-Dietrich Niemeier), and that they had not already spread their influence and population through colonies along the Aegean coast of Asia Minor as they went northward.
Map of the Movement of Tribal Migrations and Raids during the last phase of the final period of the Late Bronze Age 11300- 1100 B.C.
Canaanite style amphora found in the South House Annex storeroom at Mycenae; excavation number 54-601.
Sacred Ilios, what we have come to know as Troy in modern times, was founded by the Minoan Prince Scamander and his followers.
Egyptian (”Baggy style” – 18th Dynasty) alabastron found in the House of Shields at Mycenae.
An interesting Map of the Eastern Mediterranean World during – 1390-to-1350 B.C.
What we have is essentially Minoans from Crete fleeing after a disastrous internal conflict which forced Scamander, and the proportion of the Minoan population which stood with him, to flee to this corner of the Aegean, already established to an extent presumably by Minoan colonists as a trade or military outpost.
An interesting folk memory map of Homeric Greece During the traditional period attested to for the Trojan War.
Does it not then make sense that the logical sailing route for trade and commerce from the Levant to Crete and the Aegean world along the Southern coast of Asia Minor would then not have been viewed as land ripe for colonizing not only in just securing this vital trade route but reinforcing it with outposts and colonies which would become wealthy from the taxes extracted from foreign trading vessels to anchor in their harbours as pit-stops and safe shelter from dangerous storms and the lucrative trade and financial wealth derived from it.
Troy VI ‘Guardian of the Hellespont’, a reconstructed panoramic view of Troy VI looking West. From Troy c. 1700-1250 BC Fortress Series No.17, Osprey Publishing, by Nick Fields Illustrated by Donato Spedaliere and Sarah Sulemsohn Spedaliere(2004).
Much, one might add just as Ilios (Troy) accomplished, situated next to the lucrative Black Sea Gold-trade route through the Hellespont, conveniently located in front of a large sheltered bay along a pinch-point of a vital trading route, allowing Crete to act as a central hub of Minoan Culture extracting wealth from its rich overseas colonies.
The building of Troy’s North-East Bastion (tower VI-G). From Troy c. 1700-1250 BC Fortress Series No.17, Osprey Publishing, by Nick Fields Illustrated by Donato Spedaliere and Sarah Sulemsohn Spedaliere(2004).
A reconstruction of Troy VI, © By Christoph Haussner, Munich.
As well as expanding their colonization eastward to the lucrative and rich economic trade centres of the near east and the orient, the Minoans would then have direct colonial access to the arms and armour and arms industries of surrounding cultures.
The ‘Well-Built stronghold of Ilion’. From Troy c. 1700-1250 BC Fortress Series No.17 , Osprey Publishing, by Nick Fields Illustrated by Donato Spedaliere and Sarah Sulemsohn Spedaliere(2004).
An oblique aerial view of the reconstruction of the East Gateway of Troy VI. From Troy c. 1700-1250 BC Fortress Series No.17, Osprey Publishing, by Nick Fields Illustrated by Donato Spedaliere and Sarah Sulemsohn Spedaliere(2004).
Over time these colonies would adopt, adapt and create derivatives of their own design based on regional examples.
But just as a colonial outpost would be influenced by local arms industries, technology and weaponry so too would the local cultures be exposed to Minoan military technology as well, especially when dealing with such a prolific and massive arms industry as that of the Minoans and Mycenaeans one cannot close ones eyes to such events never having taken place.
A reconstruction of Troy VI’s North-East Bastion, © By Christoph Haussner, Munich.
To reject this view that I am presenting here would be to deny archaeological fact and reality, notwithstanding that there are doubtless many more un-disturbed sites along the southern coast of Asia Minor waiting to yield up their buried secrets.
A reconstruction of Troy VI’s South gateway, © By Christoph Haussner, Munich.
A reconstruction of the south tower and gate of Troy VI and VII. This was probably the Scaean Gate. From THE LEGEND OF ODYSSEUS, PETER CONNOLLY OXFORD UNIVERSITY PRESS 1986.
A cutaway reconstruction of Troy VI’s South gateway. From Troy c. 1700-1250 BC Fortress Series No.17, Osprey Publishing, by Nick Fields Illustrated by Donato Spedaliere and Sarah Sulemsohn Spedaliere(2004).
Cultural preferences for certain weapons of choice and types of preferred armour would always still prevail but weapons of foreign manufacture turning up in the wrecked hulls of ancient bronzed Age commercial vessels (Uluburun Wreck for example), prove that the exchange in arms was well established and common place.
Bronze Age Canaanite 13th Century BC short sword (left) and a Mycenaean Type-DI/II Short Sword (right) from the Uluburun ship wreck. (Source INA, University of Texas, Uluburun Wreck).
Uluburun Ship Wreck Location Map, marked with white-circled red cross. (Wikipedia).
The sum total of what we know so far is but the tip of the iceberg and the total of lost archaeology vast in comparison and to say that this is and will only ever be the sum total of our discoveries on the subject is a naïve and redundant point of view shared by those whom do not have any true understanding of the subject.
A wooden model reconstruction of the Uluburun Ship. (Wikipedia).
Cultural exchange in whatever form it takes would have been occurring everywhere between trading nations of the Bronze Age Mediterranean world for countless centuries and none less so than Arms Trade.
It can be argued that if we overlap specific geographical locations within known regions of the Aegean world and associated peripheral location of interests in which there is known archaeological evidence for economic growth and foreign trade to have reached a maximum extent, then it follows that the likelihood of economic expansion would have been supported with military expeditions in order to consolidated newly gained territories and influence.
The ‘Well-Built’ Mycenae, From Mycenaean Citadels c. 1350-1200 BC, by Nick Fields Illustrated by Donato Spedaliere, Fortress Series, No.22, Osprey Publishing. (2004).
Events such as civil war, may have led to neighbouring Kingdoms filling the vacuum left by a collapsed kingdom, then we can begin to create a model to help explain such events.
The Secret Cistern of Mycenae, part of the North-Eastern extension, From Mycenaean Citadels c. 1350-1200 BC, by Nick Fields Illustrated by Donato Spedaliere, Fortress Series, No.22, Osprey Publishing. (2004).
The principle entranceway to the Mycenaean Fortress Citadel of Mycenae – The Lion Gate! From Mycenaean Citadels c. 1350-1200 BC, by Nick Fields Illustrated by Donato Spedaliere, Fortress Series, No.22, Osprey Publishing. (2004).
The Citadel of Tiryns, the most strongly fortified of the Mycenaean citadels, as it might have appeared in 1250BC. From GREEK LEGENDS – THE STORIES THE EVIDENCE by Peter Connolly, 1993.
Conversely we can use the geological record to show if any environmental disasters would have contributed, to a varying degree, in creating ‘mass’ or controlled migration events over a period of time with the express intention of locating lands agriculturally rich enough to support these movements, young Princes or Kings, displaced aristocracy or young blades eager to carved out New Kingdoms for themselves. Much the Same way Sacred Ilios (Troy) came into being.
Squatting menacingly on a long, low, rocky limestone height ‘Wall-girt Tiryns’ strikes an imposing presence over the surrounding territory. From Mycenaean Citadels c. 1350-1200 BC, by Nick Fields Illustrated by Donato Spedaliere, Fortress Series, No.22, Osprey Publishing. (2004).
The use of the oral tradition cannot be ignored either. Used as a further layer or point of reference in which to help narrow down further the geographical origins of these warriors.
The East Gate, Tiryns. Cutaway reconstruction shows the gateway complex that forms the principle entranceway of Tiryns. The East Gate forms the most elaborate of Mycenaean entrance systems, combining three gateways. From Mycenaean Citadels c. 1350-1200 BC, by Nick Fields Illustrated by Donato Spedaliere, Fortress Series, No.22, Osprey Publishing. (2004).
No matter how mythologised or caught up in Legend events may seem, strip away the thin veneer of embellishment that these ‘Legendary’ events pick up over time and you will begin to see an all too familiar human struggle for survival.
- EXAMPLES OF HORNED-HELMET TYPES – THE MEDINET HABU RELIEFS.
The Medinet Habu reliefs provide us with the largest number of examples of horned helmets from any known single military encounter with Egypt – the Naval Battle scene. These designs all seem to follow a standard pattern, but within that standard design we have a degree of variance occurring.
Horned-Helmeted Sea People Warriors, Naval scene, Ship no.1.
Horned-Helmeted Sea People Warriors, Naval scene, Ship no.2.
Styles of horned helmets present in the Naval Battle scene.
This degree of variation preserved in the naval battle scene serves as an interesting historical snap-shot. We are witnessing for the first time a large variety of a known Mycenaean type horned helmet at a particular known instant of time and location, namely the year of the Battle 1190 B.C. the period ( 1229-1187 B.C).
Artistic licence and convention aside the Egyptian stone-mason-artisans have preserved in stone an incredibly detailed record of the Armour of the Sea Peoples found nowhere else.
The Egyptian stone mason’s art is so well developed and their attention to detail so meticulous in its extent that facial expressions and racial features are rendered to a degree of realism not seen anywhere else in the ancient Bronze Age World.
A fallen Horned-helmeted Sea Peoples warrior from the Medinet Habu Naval frieze, note the peculiar front rim of the helmet and strap arrangement.
This highly developed degree of artistic representation of the Sea Peoples warrior’s faces especially the warriors who wear the familiar horned helmets cannot be overstated or passed off as anomalous.
A group of fallen Horned-helmeted Sea Peoples warriors from the Medinet Habu Naval frieze, the peculiar styles are unique.
The Egyptian stone masons are sending us a very unambiguous message and making it very clear for all to see that in both the Land and Naval battle scenes that they enemy they are joining battle with is well known.
Further evidence of the horn arrangement as it should b correctly seen, from the Medinet Habu Naval frieze.
It is also very interesting to note that ALL of the warriors from both scenes, both with horned helmets and the ‘feather-type’ Helmets are clean-shaven and appear to be short-haired or possibly long-haired but with their locks tied up and out of sight inside their helmets.
A strange variation of design in both examples for horn size and general shape, from the Medinet Habu Naval frieze.
The warriors ALL wear the same body armour carry the same types of swords wear the same kilts carry the same type of shield, are in the instance of the naval battle on board the same type of warship therefore both groups have to an extent the same inferred origins or shared culture, regardless of whether we are looking at an All Mycenaean or All Minoan or Mixed Mycenaean-Minoan expedition force.
Peculiarity in the reproducing of so many different styles based on the same design theme is interesting, from the Medinet Habu Naval frieze.
Key here is that they ALL have the same racial characteristics, facial features, which are repeated in every individual regardless of the completely different types of helmet design they wear.
Variations such as horizontal lines could indicate several possibilities including painted lines or raised engraving, from the Medinet Habu Naval frieze.
Of all the peoples that the Egyptian sources recorded for us the only known peoples whom bear this particular racial trait or tribal custom of clean-shaven short and long hair are the Mycenaeans and the Minoans, but especially the Minoans.
“Standardisation” amongst Bronze Age armies is nothing new, but the process of “FORMALIZATION” in art can in, certain places, be confusing. Overall a degree of variety of forms and details within these sculptures preserves some historical detail. From the Medinet Habu Naval frieze.
The very fact that ALL the warriors, ‘horned’ and ‘feathered’ types show ‘clean-shaven’ faces cannot be dismissed out of hand as direct formalization but that not one individual warrior is shown with facial hair whilst their captive leaders are should raise important questions as to how close to real-life depiction is the sculpture trying to render, from the Medinet Habu Naval frieze.
The simplest of lines can sometimes give clues to the most perplexing of questions, when observed and interpreted correctly. When every race or tribe or peoples the Egyptians ever encountered was perfectly preserved with the closest attention to detail as to their racial characteristics, facial features such as hair and skin colour , without exception, and with detailing as far as the stylized art form would permit, you would have to be very short-sighted not to realize that the Egyptian artisans creating these magnificent sculpted battle depictions new exactly what type of people they were dealing with and what characteristics set them apart from everyone else. This formula is followed without exception and the rule is always kept. From the Medinet Habu Naval frieze.
FURTHER EXAMPLES OF HORNED-HELMET TYPES – NUMEROUS EGYPTIAN SOURCES.
In furthering our understanding of the origins of horned helmet design we also have to consider the variety of similar horned helmets present in numerous other Egyptian sources and if they are related either through a common ancestor and/or having originated from a particular geographical location or region.
Sherden Warriors in Action against Libyan Temehu Warriors! Note the Aegean form of helmet worn and sword carried by the prominent mercenary warrior to the left of picture.The fact that in the battle depiction in which these warriors are represented they are shown at the head of the army spreading death and destruction ahead of the regular body of Egyptian troops, belying the fact that these warriors were of particular ferocity and skill in battle that they were used as ‘shock and Awe’ elements, basically shock-troops used to eliminate the enemy’s best troops and further used to instil fear and panic, breaking any cohesion amongst the enemy allowing the regulars to engage and cause the enemy to rout. From The Medinet Habu Reports, I – The Epigraphic Survey 1928-31 by Harold H. Nelson.
In some respect the answer also invariably lies with the type of swords used by the Sea Peoples warriors. So in a way if we can also tie down the specific locations were these types of known swords designs originate from them we also further tie down the identity of the peoples responsible for making them.
Soldiers of Ramses III from the Temple relief, Medinet Habu wearing the distinctive horned helmets so reminiscent of Mycenaean Helmets. From Homerische Helme by Jurgen Borchhardt, 1972.
So the Egyptian stone masons have poured a wealth of information into their friezes. They have left us a true accounting of the real face of the Sea Peoples in an unambiguous and detail artistic format.
Another example of a line-up of marching Soldiers of Ramses III from the Temple relief, Medinet Habu wearing the distinctive horned helmets so reminiscent of Mycenaean Helmets. From Homerische Helme by Jurgen Borchhardt, 1972.
Styles of horned helmets present from various Egyptian sources.
There can be no doubt as to the origins of the following designs of horned helmets. When one looks carefully enough we can begin to see without any doubt that these further Egyptian sources depicting certain representations of horned helmets, and helmets without horns but with the same characteristic design, have very strong Mycenaean design characteristics. In fact there are designs of horned helmets present in Egypt that have exact representations in.
The British Museum has acquired some 40 fragments of a painted papyrus from Amarna (inv. no. EA 74100) with a unique representation of a battle. It was found in 1936 in a building which was probably a chapel dedicated to the cult of a king. The battle scene is preserved in two main areas. The first scene shows a group of Libyan archers attacking an Egyptian, while the second shows a group of running warriors, arranged in two overlapping registers. There is a very fragmentary third scene with similar figures. All the soldiers wear white kilts typical of Egyptian troops. Some wear helmet similar to Egyptian representation of gurpisu helmets worn by Asiatics. These helmets may actually have represented Achaean boar’s tusk helmets. Some of the soldiers wear ox hide tunics which may have been lined with metal strips. This too is compatible with Achaean depictions of warriors. From (freerepublic.com/focus/chat/3148139/posts).
There is another design of horned helmet prevalent across Mycenaean Greece and the Aegean world and Anatolia which is conical or bowl-shaped in fashion.
Closer depiction of warriors wearing what seems to be Mycenaean Boars’ Tusk Helmets or an earlier derivative composed of Ox Hide, equally this could also represent a bronze conical helmet of the Mycenaean type with decorative embossing as an artistic representation of earlier material forms.
These examples and variations of them are also common place and will also be examined in detail in the forthcoming material I will be presenting.
An extreme close-up of one of the supposed Achaean warriors showing the style of helmet clearly coming down passed the eye to cover the ears and upper half of the nape of the neck, which would make it an early form of organic material composition namely ox hide components stitched together or an undiscovered form of Achaean helmet present for the first and only time in this surviving Papyrus example.
Among the more frequent and commonly recognised designs of horned helmets we encounter rarer and more exotic types of horned helmets that seem to fall into a category all of their own.
A reconstruction of a Boars’ Tusk Helmet, From THE LEGEND OF ODYSSEUS by PETER CONNOLLY, OXFORD UNIVERSITY PRESS, 1986.
A fresco depicting a blue and white boar tusk helmet from Akrotiri, Thera (Santorini) circa 1600 B.C.
A Very interesting conical bronze helmets from Aegean 14th-13th century BC, one of several, depicting incised/engraved decorative markings harking back to an earlier Boars’ Tusk Helmet made from Layers of ox hide and boars’ tusks stitched in rows.
The bell-shaped helmet and knob finial formed from a single sheet of hammered bronze, the knob finial with a central perforation, reinforced on the interior with a small bronze sheet joined by three rivets, the bottom edge with perforations along the perimeter, ornamented with three incised registers below the finial and two incised registers above the bottom edge, each register composed of hatched curving lines running in opposite directions, the registers separated by hatched lines, the bottom register interrupted by four intertwined spirals7.1/8 in. (18.1 cm.) high.
Homeric tradition, as well as contemporaneous depictions of armed warriors, informs that Mycenaean helmets were conical in form with their surfaces covered with curving boar’s tusks arranged in rows running in opposite directions. The form of this helmet is identical, and the pattern of the incised wavy lines within distinct registers clearly imitates the arrangement of the tusks on Mycenaean helmets. The spiral motif along the lower register is also common within the Mycenaean artistic repertoire.
Several actual boars’ tusks helmets are known, including a restored example from a chamber tomb in Spata, Attica, no. 239 in Demakopoulou, et al., The Mycenaean World, Five Centuries of Early Greek Culture, 1600-1100 B.C.
Depictions of warriors or deities wearing boar’s tusks helmets are found on gems, pottery, ivory, and frescos. For an ivory inlay with the head of a warrior see no. 238 in the same publication. For a fresco fragment from the “cult center” at Mycenae see no. 149 in the same publication.
Only very few bronze helmets from this period are known, for an example in a much poorer state of repair from an Achaean warrior’s tomb near Knossos see no. 113 in Marinatos, Crete and Mycenae.
A fresco fragment from Mycenae depicting an unusually large ball-like finial adornment. From Homerische Helme by Jurgen Borchhardt, 1972.
Present in only a few Egyptian sources they are by far the most intriguing in the fact that the share common trains with the more well-known example but are radically different enough to be described as unique and because of this very little can be ascertained as to their exact geographical origins.
This does not mean that when attempting to classify them they will not turn out to be yet another lesser known style of a popular Mycenaean example just that in general they may be grouped to the same geographical region and common type rather than being ascribed to a specific local or none at all.
A conical helmet discovered at Ur sporting a prominent finial. From Homerische Helme by Jurgen Borchhardt, 1972.
Forms of attachment for finials onto helmets, the topmost two from Knossos, the lower three forms of Hungarian origin. From Homerische Helme by Jurgen Borchhardt, 1972.
Fragments of mural from the Palace at Mycenae Pithos area that depict men at war the fragments date to about 250B.C.
I will also, where possible, attempt to show direct parallels between known Mycenaean and Egyptian sources, cross-referencing design types separated by large geographical distances.
Finally an important question will be addressed from and linked to the cross-referencing – the employment, integration, garrisoning and importance of these foreign mercenary forces within the Pharaonic Army and the origins of the armour and weapons employed by these mercenary forces.
A closer inspection of the three helmeted warriors from Mycenae show them to be wearing conical helmets with what appear to be horns and an attachment for a crest. Note that the helmets are coloured the same as the tunics the three warriors wear, is this a sign that the helmets were painted to match the colour of the warriors tunic or is this some form of artistic convention?
- ACCURACY IS EVERYTHING – CORRECT INTEPRETATION AND ACCURATE RE-CONSTRUCTION OF HORNED-HELMETS FROM EGYPTIAN SOURCES.
In this section I shall investigate how important it is to correctly approach and interpret examples of horned helmets from the Egyptian sources with the purpose of showing how these helmets would have been fashioned.
The complete lack of surviving examples of horned helmets from Egypt does restrict our ability to drawn definitive conclusions in this area, but on the other hand a wealth of archaeology from the Mycenaean Aegean world may help us to fill in the necessary gaps in our knowledge and understanding of the processes of helmet construction and how it contributed to providing effective protection.
The question of whether we are seeing representations of helmets constructed of man-made materials such as bronze or organic materials, or both, will also be covered in this section as it raises some very important questions.
This will further affect our perceptions of the type of technology used to produce helmets made of bronze as compared to helmets of organic materials and which of the cultures present would they have most likely have originated from.
The level of technological expertise capable of producing such equipment from bronze requires a level of maturity and experience in metallurgy few cultures would have possessed, especially if we are dealing with a further factor involving the argument in favour of segmented body armour rather than embossed plate-armour.
The debate over whether plate or segmented armour was used cannot be ignored in terms whether helmet design and material composition would have been affected by how body armour was comprised.
As for archaeological evidence I will be including discussion and analysis of the representations of armour from the Minoan Linear-B, as well as examples of excavated bronze armour.
Another important factor to consider is the possible use of composite armour. This would undoubtedly take the form of warriors wearing a combination of bronze and organic materials.
The question of how rank would have affected the type of armour worn including the material composition of the type of helmet worn will also be discussed at length.
- MATERIAL COMPOSITION & MANUFACTURE – THE MATERIALS AND CONSTRUCTION METHODS MOST LIKELY USED IN HORNED-HELMETS.
Here I will explain the materials most likely to have been available in the manufacture of horned helmets and also how and why they would have been used.
The processes involved in the manufacture of the horned helmets has never been fully addressed and through this investigation and analysis I hope to derive a clearer understanding as to how material composition and placement within such designs works and contributes towards providing optimum protection and why such methods are chosen for horned helmet designs in preference to other helmet designs.
In conclusion I will explain how simple materials along with simple but effective economy of design philosophy contribute to producing relatively simple helmet designs with very effective protection-to-weight ratio abilities.
When dealing with the subject of materials and construction methods used to produce horned-helmets the question arises as to why this particular design.
There are a variety of helmet designs available from the traditional period covering the activities of the Sea Peoples that would more than provide adequate levels of protection and not involve extensive knowledge of metallurgy to produce. So further to these questions I will be adding other possible reasons such as Cultural and Social preferences.
In general there is nothing complex about the actual design and manufacture of the Horned-Helmets depicted from the Egyptian sources so common sense dictates that there are other factors involved in its design, namely cultural and possible religious ones, much in the same way that we only ever see the huge tower and figure-eight body-shields exclusively from the Aegean Greek world and Minoan Crete.
The reason that I mention the figure-Eight body-shield is that it is used nowhere else by no other peoples of the Bronze Age than by the Minoans and the Mycenaeans, so to these peoples there is attached a symbolic reason as well as a practical military one.
If we take a flat surfaced shield in the shape of a figure-eight body shield then we have the iconic representation of the earliest idealized form of the GODDESS.
Two forms of Flat figure-eight “idol stones” from Hissarlik (Troy). From CATALOGUE OF ANCIENT SCULPTURES I – AEGEAN, CYPRIOTE AND GRAECO-PHOENICIAN, by P.J. Riis, Mette Moltesen, and Pia Guldager, 1989.
Thus a warrior of the Early Bronze Age Aegean world would have lock-stepped into battle with the shape or form of the Goddess – the feminine, as his protection!
Two further forms of Flat figure-eight “idol stones” from Hissarlik (Troy). From CATALOGUE OF ANCIENT SCULPTURES I – AEGEAN, CYPRIOTE AND GRAECO-PHOENICIAN, by P.J. Riis, Mette Moltesen, and Pia Guldager, 1989.
This shows just how important religious symbolism was in the early to middle periods of the Aegean Bronze Age world. Might it then not also have extended to the helmet as well?
The THEOFANEIA or “Epiphany” presents the ritual during which the mother Goddess appears (played by the Queen – priestess) sitting in alabaster throne of Knossos and holding in her arms the young god of vegetation. The goddess receives the drink offering and delicacies but also animal sacrifices (the bull lead by the horns in the right of the picture) The Minoans play musical instruments, sing hymns and dancing ecstatic dances. A painting by Roussetos Panagiotakis.
The Southern wall at Knossos with the Horns of Consecration.
“Horns of Consecration” is an expression coined by Sir Arthur Evans to describe the symbol, ubiquitous in Minoan civilization, that represents the horns of the sacred bull: Sir Arthur Evans concluded, after noting numerous examples in Minoan and Mycenaean contexts, that the Horns of Consecration were “a more or less conventionalised article of ritual furniture derived from the actual horns of the sacrificial oxen” The much-photographed porous limestone horns of consecration on the East Propyleia at Knossos (photo, above) are restorations, but horns of consecration in stone or clay were placed on the roofs of buildings in Neopalatial Crete, or on tombs or shrines, probably as signs of sanctity of the structure. The symbol also appears on Minoan seals, often accompanied by double axes and bucrania, which are part of the iconography of Minoan bull sacrifice. Horns of consecration are among the cultic images painted on the Minoan coffins called larnakes, sometimes in isolation; they may have flowers between the horns, or the labrys. Minoan sites with Horns of Consecration include: Archanes, Armeni, Kamilari, Knossos, Mount Juktas, Odigitria, Tylissos.
The Horns of Consecration are a famous and a ubiquitous symbol of the Aegean world, especially so when dealing with Minoan Religious and cultural belief systems.
So, does it not stand to reason that Horns on the helmets of warriors from the Mycenaean-Aegean and Minoan worlds who go forth into battle would also be wearing the ‘symbolic’ representation of the Horns of Consecration as a symbol of their Gods protection and their devotion to them?
The central court at the Palace of Knossos with Horns of Consecration depicted on the temple-like shrine structure left of centre.
Bull worship was prevalent through this period especially in Egypt and Crete and one has to remember two other important factors, that Egyptian & Minoan cultures were heavily represented by BULL ICONOGRAPHY, Egyptian Apis Bull Worship and Minoan Bull Worship and that during this period the Constellation of TAURUS the BULL was the predominant Celestial body in the heavens from about 4000 BC to 1700 BC, after which it moved into the neighbouring constellation Aries.
The different stages of Bull-leaping practised by the young acrobatic Minoan Toreadors.
These horned helmets were not just a simple attempt to look more ferocious and intimidating to the enemy.
Some temples kept sacred animals, which were believed to be manifestations of the temple god’s ba in the same way that cult images were. Each of these sacred animals was kept in the temple and worshipped for a certain length of time, ranging from a year to the lifetime of the animal. At the end of that time, it was replaced with a new animal of the same species, which was selected by a divine oracle or based on specific markings that were supposed to indicate its sacred nature. Among the most prominent of these animals were the Apis bull, worshipped at Memphis as a manifestation of the Memphite god Ptah, and the falcon at Edfu who represented the falcon god Horus.
The Apis Bull, a detail from the coffin of Denytenamun.
During the Late Period, a different form of worship involving animals developed. In this case, laymen paid the priests to kill, mummify, and bury an animal of a particular species as an offering to a god. These animals were not regarded as especially sacred, but as a species they were associated with the god because it was depicted in the form of that animal.
Depiction of the Egyptian “The Procession of the Sacred” funeral of the Apis Bull by Frederick Arthur Bridgman (1847-1928).
The god Thoth, for instance, could be depicted as an ibis and as a baboon and both ibises and baboons were given to him. Although this practice was distinct from the worship of single divine representatives, some temples kept stocks of animals that could be selected for either purpose. These practices produced large cemeteries of mummified animals, such as the catacombs around the Serapeum of Saqqara where the Apis bulls were buried along with millions of animal offerings.(en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Egyptian_temple).
The following excerpts are from Bulfinch’s Mythology
APIS the Bull of Memphis, which enjoyed the highest honours as a god among the Egyptians. (Pomponius Mela; Aelian, On the Characteristics of Animals; Lucian’s De Dea Syria) He is called the greatest of gods, and the god of all nations, while others regard him more in the light of a symbol of some great divinity; for some authorities state, that Apis was the bull sacred to the moon, as Mnevis was the one sacred to the sun.
According to Macrobius (Saturnalia i. 21), on the other hand, Apis was regarded as the symbol of the sun. The most common opinion was, that Apis was sacred to Osiris, in whom the sun was worshipped and sometimes Apis is described as the soul of Osiris, or as identical with him. (Diodorus Siculus i. 21; Plutarch; Strabo, Geography xvii. p. 807.)
In regard to the birth of this divine animal Herodotus (iii) says, that he was the offspring of a young cow which was fructified by a ray from heaven, and according to others it was by a ray of the moon that she conceived him. (Suid., Aelian, II. cc.; Plutarch’s De Iside et Osiride) The signs by which it was recognised that the newly born bull was really the god Apis, are described by several of :he ancients. According to Herodotus it was requisite that the animal should be quite black, have a white square mark on the forehead, on its back a figure similar to that of an eagle, have two kinds of hair in its tail, and on its tongue a knot resembling an insect.
Pliny, who states that the cantharus was under the tongue, adds, that the right side of the body was marked with a white spot resembling the horns of the new moon, Aelian says, that twenty-nine signs were required and some of those which he mentions have reference to the later astronomical and physical specuitions about the god. When all the signs were found satisfactory in a newly born bull, the ceremony of his consecration began. This solemnity described by Aelian, Pliny, Ammianus Marcelmis and Diodorus.
When it was made known, says Aelian, that the god was born, some of the sacred scribes, who possessed the secret nowledge of the signs of Apis, went to the place of his birth, and built a house there in the direction towards the rising sun. In this house the god was fed with milk for the space of four months, and after this, about the time of the new moon, the scribes and prophets prepared a ship sacred to the god, in which he was conveyed to Memphis. Here he entered his splendid residence, containing extensive walks and courts for his amusement. A number of the choicest cows, forming as it were the harem of the god, were kept in his palace at Memphis.
The account of Diodorus, though on the whole agreeing with that of Aelian, contains some additional particulars of interest. Pliny and Ammianus Marcellinus do not mention the god’s harem, and state that Apis was only once in every year allowed to come in contact with a cow, and that this cow was, like the god himself, marked in a peculiar way. Apis, moreover, drank the water of only one particular well in his palace, since the water of the Nile was believed to be too fattening. The god had no other occupation at Memphis, than to receive the services and homage of his attendants and worshippers, and to give oracles, which he did in various ways. According to Pliny, his temple contained two thalarni, and accordingly as he entered the one or the other, it was regarded as a favourable or unfavourable sign.
As regards the mode in which Apis was worshipped, we know, from Herodotus (ii. 38, 41), that oxen, whose purity was scrupulously examined before, were offered to him as sacrifices. His birthday, which was celebrated every year, was his most solemn festival; it was a day of rejoicing for all Egypt. The god was allowed to live only a certain number of years, probably twenty-five.
If he had not died before the expiration of that period, he was killed and buried in a sacred well, the place of which was unknown except to the initiated, and he who betrayed it was severely punished. (Arnob. adv. Gent. vi. p. 194.) If, however, Apia died a natural death, he was buried publicly and solemnly, and, as it would seem, in the temple of Serapis at Memphis, to which the entrance was left open at the time of Apis’ burial. (Pausanias; Plut. de Is. et Os. 29.)
The name Serapis or Sarapis itself is said to signify “the tomb of Apis.” Respecting the particular ceremonies and rites of the burial, its expenses, and the miracles which used to accompany it, see Diodorus i. As the birth of Apis filled all Egypt with joy and festivities, so his death threw the whole country into grief and mourning; and there was no one, as Lucian says, who valued his hair so much that he would not have shorn his head on that occasion. (Lucian’s De Dea Syria) However, this time of mourning did not usually last long, as a new Apis was generally kept ready to fill the place of his predecessor; and as soon as he was found, the mourning was at an end, and the rejoicings began. (Diodorus i)
The worship of Apis was, without doubt, originally nothing but the simple worship of the bull, and formed a part of the fetish-worship of the Egyptians; but in the course of time, the bull, like other animals, was regarded as a symbol in the astronomical and physical systems of the Egyptian priests. How far this was carried may be seen from what Aelian says about the twenty-nine marks on the body of Apis, which form a complete astronomical and physical system. For further details respecting these late speculations, the reader is referred to the works on Egyptian mythology by Jablonsky, Champollion, Pritchard, and others.
The Persians, in their religious intolerance, ridiculed and scorned the Egyptian gods, and more especially Apis. Cambyses killed Apis with his own hand (Herodotus iii. 29), and Ochus had him slaughtered. (Plutarch) The Greeks and Romans, on the other hand, saw nothing repugnant to their feelings in the worship of Apis, and Alexander the Great gained the good will of the Egyptians by offering sacrifices to Apis as well as to their other gods. (Arrian, Epicteti Dissertationes). Several of the Roman emperors visited and paid homage to Apis, and his worship seems to have maintained itself nearly down to the extinction of paganism.
From Smith’s Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography and Mythology
From The Virgin Birth Doctrine By Jocelyn Rhys
In Egypt we also find that “Apis, the sacred bull of Memphis, was believed to have been begotten by a deity descending as a ray of moonlight on the cow which was to become the mother of the sacred beast; hence he was regarded as the son of the god.”
From The Christ by John E. Remsberg
Nearly every animal has been an object of worship. This worship flourished for ages in Egypt and India In Egypt the worship of the bull (Apis) was associated with that of Osiris (Serapis). The cow is still worshiped in India. Serpent worship has existed in every part of the world.
Remnants of animal worship survived in Judaism and Christianity. Satan was a serpent; Jehovah, like Osiris, was worshiped as a bull; Christ was the lamb of God, and the Holy Ghost appeared in the form of a dove.
The Hebrew “nephesh ruach” and “neshamah” (in Arabic “ruh” and “nefs”) pass from meaning “breath” to “spirit”. In Egypt the god Khnumu was “Kneph” in his character as an atmospheric deity. The ascendancy of storm and wind gods in some Babylonian cities may have been due to the belief that they were the source of the “air of life”. It is possible that this conception was popularized by the Semites. Inspiration was perhaps derived from these deities by burning incense, which, if we follow evidence obtained elsewhere, induced a prophetic trance. The gods were also invoked by incense. In the Flood legend the Babylonian Noah burned incense. “The gods smelled a sweet savour and gathered like flies over the sacrificer.” In Egypt devotees who inhaled the breath of the Apis bull were enabled to prophesy.
From The Golden Bough. The Myth of Osiris
Wherefore to this day each of the priests imagines that Osiris is buried in his country, and they honour the beasts that were consecrated in the beginning, and when the animals die the priests renew at their burial the mourning for Osiris. But the sacred bulls, the one called Apis and the other Mnevis, were dedicated to Osiris, and it was ordained that they should be worshipped as gods in common by all the Egyptians, since these animals above all others had helped the discoverers of corn in sowing the seed and procuring the universal benefits of agriculture.”
From Herodotus The History. The Third Book: Thalia
About the time when Cambyses arrived at Memphis, Apis appeared to the Egyptians. Now Apis is the god whom the Greeks call Epaphus. As soon as he appeared, straightway all the Egyptians arrayed themselves in their gayest garments, and fell to feasting and jollity: which when Cambyses saw, making sure that these rejoicings were on account of his own ill success, he called before him the officers who had charge of Memphis, and demanded of them—“Why, when he was in Memphis before, the Egyptians had done nothing of this kind, but waited until now, when he had returned with the loss of so many of his troops?” The officers made answer, “That one of their gods had appeared to them, a god who at long intervals of time had been accustomed to show himself in Egypt—and that always on his appearance the whole of Egypt feasted and kept jubilee.” When Cambyses heard this, he told them that they lied, and as liars he condemned them all to suffer death.
(ll. 1562-1563) Thus he spake, and readily Euphemus held out his hands towards the clod, and thus addressed him in reply:
(ll. 1564-1570) “If haply, hero, thou knowest aught of Apis
(12) and the sea of Minos, tell us truly, who ask it of you. For not of our will have we come hither, but by the stress of heavy storms have we touched the borders of this land, and have borne our ship aloft on our shoulders to the waters of this lake over the mainland, grievously burdened; and we know not where a passage shows itself for our course to the land of Pelops.”
From Works, Volume One by Lucian of Samosata
Hermes. That is Tomyris. She will cut off Cyrus’s head, and put it into a wine-skin filled with blood. And do you see his son, the boy there? That is Cambyses. He will succeed to his father’s throne; and, after innumerable defeats in Libya and Ethiopia, will finally slay the god Apis, and die a raving madman.
Charon. What fun! Why, at this moment no one would presume to meet their eyes; from such a height do they look down on the rest of mankind. Who would believe that before long one of them will be a captive, and the other have his head in a bottle of blood?–But who is that in the purple robe, Hermes?–the one with the diadem? His cook has just been cleaning a fish, and is now handing him a ring,–“in yonder sea-girt isle”; “’tis, sure, some king.”
This type of shield has obvious limitations since the edges of a flat- surface figure-eight body-shields would obviously tend to bend when struck and have no means to distribute the energy evenly from a blow by a sword, axe or mace across its surface.
Ivory model of a figure-eight shield from Kadmeia, Thebes (restored). From The Greek Armies by Peter Connolly.
This may have be sufficient during its time but as warfare and the weapons race progressed hand in hand this particular style of shield would have become obsolete and a liability.
Reconstruction of the outside of a figure-eight shield (left), Cutaway to show wicker core and layers of hide (centre), and inside of shield showing cross-stretchers and neck strap (right). From The Greek Armies by Peter Connolly.
But here we find an interesting development just as the basic flat shape would have become a liability with more developed weapons appearing to counter them the simple process of pinching the shield at its narrowest point forces the two halves to bulge out producing the classic Bronze Age figure-eight body-shields with their distinctive deep double-bowl shape. Once this is achieved the same shape takes on a completely new and improved ability.
Clay model of an 8th-century shield with stretchers on the inside. From The Greek Armies by Peter Connolly.
Not only is structural integrity improved immensely but the warrior can now put himself ‘inside’ the shield allowing for even greater protection than before.
A Minoan ring in the shape of a proto-dipylon figure-eight shield, from the treasure of Aegina 1850-1550 B.C.
To Breathe or not to Breathe.
Not only does this new shape allow for greater protection it creates a space the warrior can fight from within and hide inside from missile bombardment from javelins, sling-shots and arrows. It also creates an ideal shape from which spears and javelins can be deflected without having to re-orientate the shields surface angle in order to maximise deflection of any projectiles, but here also is probably one of the most important ‘other’ reasons this shield become so popular and widespread , more importantly it allows the warrior to Breathe!
The crafting of a flat-surfaced Minoan or Mycenaean shield.
Flat surface shields no matter what their size are actually rather dangerous when it comes to infantry lines clashes.
With men piling on the pressure to progress forward from their own ranks and the enemy formation reciprocating the same way then a flat shield offers no ‘Breathing Space’ for the warrior to operate in, therefore the ability to be able to breathe in the crush of a massed infantry battle was an overwhelming priority.
Mycenaean nobles in battle fully illustrating the deep double-bowl configuration of the figure-eight shield.
This type of shield development would only come from the developmental requirement for deep ranks of tightly massed infantry formations.
Restored interior view of the “Hall of the Double-Axes” the “Room of the Shields”, (watercolour by Piet de Jong).
Thus the problem of asphyxiation must have been of great concern to military planners of the time and weighed heavily on the military to have their armourers develop a counter to such potentially lethal situation as warfare moved away from more open styles of fighting to massed ranks of spearmen.
Another Restored Interior view of inner section of “Hall of Double Axes” showing suspended shields, doors and windows to left opening on western section.
‘The Great Rite’ Painting by Roussetos Panagiotakis.
In Minoan Crete, the dominant deity was the Great Mother Goddess.
But worshiped the god of vegetation, who was born and died each year.
That god was replaced later with Kritageni Zeus, who is young beardless and dies and is reborn every year.
Finally Kritagenis ( Krita-genis, Cretan-Born) Jupiter was identified with Olympian Zeus and came of age and became immortal.
The Painting by Roussetos Panayiotakis shows:
– Little Zeus,
– The nurse of Amalthea holding the “horn” of abundance
– All 10 Kourites or Idaean Dactyls, who sprang from the earth when Rhea (time of childbirth) sank her fingers into the soil to avoid shouting but Kronos heard her.
Kouretes protected and helped in raising Jupiter.
– The nymphs Adrastea, Ida and Melissa, who fed the little Zeus.
– Friends of small Zeus: the Aigipan or Pan, the Eagle (later Hera the jealous transformed him into a bird) and Kelmis (Idaios ring).
The Lion Hunt.
There is also a very important issue that requires our attention – The Lion Hunt!
When faced with the kind of fauna present in Bronze Age Greece and the Aegean one would also require a specific set of tools required to protect against them in the hunt.
Warriors of Greece from the City of Mycenae display their courage by hunting lions on the plain of Argos. Lion Hunt Scene by Richard Hook (from Lakodaemon’s personal Collection).
One can only guess at the large population densities of such ferocious predators as Lions Leopards, Bears, wild Boar and Wolves and to a lesser extent, but none the less ferocious, animals such as Wild Aurochs-type Bulls and Dear, all of which during the Bronze Age would have filled the almost unending expanses of the then thickly forested mountainous regions and fertile plains that once covered the Greek mainland, Aegean Isles and Asia Minor.
The Mycenaean “Lion Hunt” Burial Dagger found in grave-shaft IV at Mycenae’s Grave Circle A.
In 1876 German archaeologist Heinrich Schliemann began his excavation of Mycenae and ultimately uncovered critical artefacts pertaining to Greece’s Late Bronze Age. The above image represents a burial dagger, more famously known as the “Lion Hunt” dagger, found in grave-shaft IV of Mycenae’s Grave Circle A.
While Schliemann’s original intentions were to unearth the remains of Agamemnon and the time period of the Trojan War, the artefacts found in Grave Circle A date from the 16thcentury B.C.E. Many of these artefacts, including the daggers being examined in this exhibit, were laden with gold due to their burial significance.
The “Lion Hunt” daggers were not used in actual warfare but held importance as decorative burial goods for powerful and wealthy Mycenaean citizens. The golden artwork on the three daggers reflects Minoan influence on Mycenaean in several ways. The main sword depicts a lion-hunting scene with four hunters attacking three lions.
The middle sword simply depicts three lions running in stride, and the final sword has swirling elaborate golden patterns. In regards to artwork, Minoan influences include delicate creations, figure-of-eight shields, and the introduction of animal figures.
Examples of the figure-of-eight shields can be seen in the gold artwork on the primary dagger.
Of the four hunters, two are wearing the Minoan inspired shields while the other two shields reflect a square Mycenaean pattern.
The introduction of lions, as well as the delicate patterns seen on the final dagger, also represents the introduction of Minoan influence on Mycenaean craftsmanship. It is important to note that while the influence was foreign, the works found in Grave Circle A are all of indigenous artistry. These Late Bronze Age daggers serve as vital examples linking the relationship between Minoan and Mycenaean society.
Therefore such shield developments may have actually come from the need to also protect against Lions, a particularly favourite past time of the Mycenaeans and other deadly predators that filled the landscape of the Aegean Bronze Age Greek world.
Harvard Art museum’s Replica Lion Hunt Dagger.
So a military requirement presumable of religious origins with practical hunting requirements may have developed from a past-time engaged in by the rich and nobility.
Second Mycenaean “Lion Hunt” Burial Dagger found in grave-shaft IV at Mycenae’s Grave Circle A, depicting three leaping lions in succession.
Harvard Art museum’s Lions leaping replica Dagger.
- FORM FOLLOWS FUNCTION – REASON AND PURPOSE FOR THE DESIGN OF THE HORNED-HELMET AS AN INTEGRAL COMPONENT OF BODY-AROMUR.
As the title explains I will be raising a very important question regarding the specific design characteristics of the horned helmets and why in the many various examples the form of the helmet may have played an integral and crucial part in the way the entire body armour functioned as a whole in combat.
When dealing with such a topic as Bonze Age warrior helmets one must take into consideration the level of wisdom and expertise handed down through generation upon generation of metal workers that would have been present at the time such items of body armour were coming into use.
When we see the Horned-Helmets of the Sea Peoples warriors from Medinet Habu and the like we tend to see and over simplify some examples as simple metal bowls with adornments and simply no more, with their crude use of fixtures used to frighten the enemy.
This is at best an over simplification and at worst a worryingly naïve mind set to adopt, since at closer inspection such a design has, built within it, some remarkable and ingeniously overlooked attributes.
Defensive Qualities of later Greek & Roman Helmet designs.
The Greek Way.
When we look ahead in time to the armour of the Ancient Greek hoplite for example the helmet is an integral part of the defensive nature of the armour.
AN UNUSUAL GREEK BORNZE HELMET
Nineteenth-century water-colour depicting the helmet from “The antiquaries journal” Volume 67 / Issue 02 / September 1987, pp 351-352 by Judith Swaddling.
The unusual Greek Bronze Helmet in a private collection, London, Photographs: British Museum. From “The antiquaries journal” Volume 67 / Issue 02 / September 1987, pp 351-352 by Judith Swaddling.
A closer view of the front of the helmet shows the crude manufacture, note the surface is covered with puck-marks and indentations – synonymous with having been first cast then hammered in to the required size and shape for the dimensions of the wearer, and exceptionally small eye openings. From “The antiquaries journal” Volume 67 / Issue 02 / September 1987, pp 351-352 by Judith Swaddling.
Side profile of the same helmet depicting the unusual and primitive form of Corinthian helmet design. From “The antiquaries journal” Volume 67 / Issue 02 / September 1987, pp 351-352 by Judith Swaddling.
Another angled side profile view shows just how thick tis helmet was and therefore how excessive in weight in comparison to later models this must have been when worn, not the multiple impact points across the front side and rear of the helmet, obviously as the individual fell forward repeated strikes, first to the front then to the side and rear-top of the helmet. From “The antiquaries journal” Volume 67 / Issue 02 / September 1987, pp 351-352 by Judith Swaddling.
Another very similar example of this early primitive Corinthian helmet design in the Olympia Museum this time with its nose-guard turned upwards in a ritualistic “killing” of the helmet before being offered up at one of the sanctuaries at Olympia as a dedication to a chosen God. From “The antiquaries journal” Volume 67 / Issue 02 / September 1987, pp 351-352 by Judith Swaddling.
Corinthian helmets give almost complete coverage leaving only openings for the eyes and a gap between the cheek-pieces for breathing, essential when protecting the face from the Dory spear-points coming from the furious spear stabbing lunges of the first three ranks of opposing hoplites and against the crush produced in the ‘Othismos’ or controlled pushing movements used in such dense fighting formations as the Phalanx.
A stunning bronze reproduction from fabricaromanorum Recreations of an early form of Archaic period (7th/6th centuries BC) Corinthian helmet with stitched lined felt edging.
Another stunning bronze reproduction from fabricaromanorum Recreations of a later archaic form from the 6th-5th century BC Corinthian helmet with decorative pins along its edging.
A stunning bronze reproduction from fabricaromanorum Recreations of an Late period Corinthian helmet.
A late Corinthian Helmet in use at the Battle of Marathon 490 B.C. Illustration by Peter Connolly.
The last stand of the 300 and their allies, King Leonidas leads the remnants of his army into open ground in closed phalanx formation, for the final charge against the Persian ranks at the battle of Thermopylae 480 B.C. Illustration by Peter Connolly.
Sparta vs. Thebes! Spartan hoplites engage the Thebans from a Close-up aerial view of the Spartan ranks from the second battle of Coronea in 349 B.C. From WARFARE IN THE ANCIENT WORLD, by General Sir John Hackett, 1987, Illustration by Peter Connolly.
The Theban side from a Close-up aerial view of the Spartan ranks from the second battle of Coronea in 349 B.C. From WARFARE IN THE ANCIENT WORLD, by General Sir John Hackett, 1987, Illustration by Peter Connolly.
From Hollow-Lakedaimon blogspot.co.uk, A terrifying image of OTHISMOS!
An insanely intense overhead shot of two hoplite phalanxes crashing together. The eyeball to eye-ball furious close quarter fighting with spear points raining down repeatedly from the first three ranks in a vicious and repetitive stabbing motion over the enemy’s shield rim towards the neck region all along the front line must have been an unbelievably brutal sight to behold.
An image of Othismos by Paul Michael Bardunias.
I happened upon an image of othismos as I describe it in my crowd-othismos model: men packed tight belly to back, not pushing side-on. This is an frame from the Discovery Channel’s War and Civilization that can be seen on youtube.com. Here we can see the type of packing that must occur. Yes, I know the shields are terrible. You can see that in this environment the overhand grip on the spear will provide a much broader range of motion than even a high underhand grip. You’ll also see that at this range the dory is useless for fighting in the front rank against your immediate foe.
There is no way to choke up on the shaft far enough to bring an 8′ spear to bear on the rank ahead of you. Thus, either the first rank used swords, or fought past the men in front, aiming deeper in the enemy ranks.
Another thing you can see is why I think the shields must overlap right over left, i.e : the man on the left comes up behind the overhanging shield of the man to his right. In the image below, the arrows show a weak point in the shield-wall when overlapped left over right as under the top arrow. The reason this joint gives way is that the portion of shield off to a man’s left is easier to push back than the portion to the right. The flange to the left acts as a lever on the hoplite’s arm, while the right side, if forced back, is pushed into his body.
Now look at the lower arrow and you will see that pushing here only tightens the bond between shields and strengthens the wall, forcing both shields back into the body of the hoplite on the left.
The Roman Way.
With the later more advanced Legionary helmets we see the development of ever larger neck guards, the addition of such oversized Neck Guards found on later examples of Galea or legionary helmets, notably Imperial Gallic G, H and I, and even more so on the later Imperial Italic D, E, G and H models we see a massive increase in coverage of the neck, upper-back and shoulder regions, and cross-braces atop the crown of the helmet are evident when you consider the automatic tuck-your-head-in-and-down position instinctively adopted to counter against the downwards strikes of such vicious weapons as the Dacian falx.
Legionaries charge on mass and deploy their murderous volleys of Heavy and Light Pila. From Tiberius Claudius Maximus: Legionary (Roman World) (1997), written and Illustrated by Peter Connolly.
Legionaries engage Dacian warriors with their monstrous hooked-bladed Falx Long swords. From Tiberius Claudius Maximus: Legionary (Roman World) (1997), written and Illustrated by Peter Connolly.
A Legio XIIII reconstruction of A Mainz helmet lost in the Rhine, here an Imperial Italic ‘D’. From THE ROMAN LEGIONS Recreated in COLOUR PHOTOGRAPHS, by Daniel Peterson, A EUROPA MILITARIA SPECIAL No.2. 1992.
When the falx was aimed at the crown of the helmet the need to affix an iron cross-brace to defend against the claw portion of the blade was essential and for that matter any other portion of the falx’s blade that might come into contact with the crown of the helmet.
An Imperial Italic type ‘H’ in use in AD 200, the pinnacle of Roman infantry helmet design.
The most common helmet in the Legio XIIII reconstruction group is this Imperial Gallic ‘H’, with its characteristic deep skull and well sloped neck guard. From THE ROMAN LEGIONS Recreated in COLOUR PHOTOGRAPHS, by Daniel Peterson, A EUROPA MILITARIA SPECIAL No.2. 1992.
Conquest Weapons of Rome (History Channel) With Peter Woodward.
When the falx or sword was used in the downward strike to cut down at the head or against the shoulder portion of the Lorica Segmentata instinctively the legionary would adopt the tuck-down posture by turning away and hunching up (Scene selection No.1a-1b), the neck guard then served to act as a double-fold protection as the side portion of the neck guard closes down on the upper shoulder section of the Lorica Segmentata to give additional protection against the falx or swords point or blade up (Scene selection No.2a-2b).
Scene selection No.1a. From – Conquest Weapons of Rome (History Channel) With Peter Woodward.
Scene selection No.1b. From – Conquest Weapons of Rome (History Channel) With Peter Woodward.
Scene selection No.2a. From – Conquest Weapons of Rome (History Channel) With Peter Woodward.
Scene selection No.2b. From – Conquest Weapons of Rome (History Channel) With Peter Woodward.
In conclusion I will show how the horned-helmet of the Sea Peoples Warriors is not just a simple protection device but a vital component of the whole armour arrangement and like the Hoplite and Legionary Helmets After them were designed to complement and reinforce the design philosophy around the Sea Peoples body armour and provide surprisingly effective protection, freedom of movement and ventilation against over-heating.
- DECORATION & COLOUR – DISC OR BALL AND THE RELEVANCE OF COLOUR TO RANK AND IDENTIFICATION IN BATTLE.
Here I will tackle the important questions raised by nearly every example of horned helmet encountered in the Egyptian sources, namely the ‘disc or ball’ debate and how best to interpret the sources.
I will also cover the relevance of colour, where applicable, and type of colours most likely to have been used in horned helmet decoration and the importance that colour may have played as an identification of rank and units.
The Disc or Ball Debate.
It is my belief that in the examples of Horned-Helmets where the identification of a ‘disc or ball’ is in question, a simple rule may be applied in discerning which item applies.
A mercenary soldier of probable Aegean origins in Egyptian service sporting ONLY the BALL/DISC attachment to the top of the helmet but what is noteworthy is the lack of horns. From the Land Battle Frieze at Medinet Habu Temple Complex.
A mercenary soldier of probable Aegean origins in Egyptian service sporting the BALL/DISC attachment to the top of the helmet. From the Land Battle Frieze at Medinet Habu Temple Complex.
This will also be addressed in forth coming entries and the origins of such appendages to those known and recorded examples of Horned-Helmets seen in the Egyptian sources.
The previous warriors companion closes in from the right, here he is wielding an Egyptian mace, note carefully the ‘fork-handle’ arrangement for confirmation. In this example the individual appears to have a BALL/DISC attachment by no discernible horn appendages, not the sash worn, a particularly interesting attention to detail and another avenue of possible identification. From the Land Battle Frieze at Medinet Habu Temple Complex.
In examples where it is obvious a ‘Disc’ applies I will discuss the relevance of this adoption ,and conversely where the ‘Ball’ applies I will discuss its relevance also.
In this scene the central figure sports a prominent Horns and Disc or Ball arrangement with typical Achaean/Aegean style of carrying the sword, his companion follows mopping up what slaughter is left by his comrade, pay careful attention to his shield strap and baldric arrangement, yet more specific detail applied by the sculpture, preserving through his stylized form basic yet informative detail to this individual, an attempt to clearly show who these warriors are and their peculiar battle-dress sense fighting style. From the Land Battle Frieze at Medinet Habu Temple Complex.
The question of religious symbolism and meaning in regards to the ‘Disc or Ball’ question will be covered in the following chapter but I will raise the issue in this chapter as an introduction to the next and in so doing hopefully address the question over a broader series of more detail-specific topic areas.
In this scene three individuals march forward laying waste to all before them, the partially preserved individual in the foreground must therefore be similarly suited out and is equipped the same way as his two fellow comrades.
This particular helmet style is represented with and without horns, possibly a commander and fellow lower ranking officers or basic infantryman being lead into the battle, pay attention to what seems to be a beard sported by the warrior furthest away with repeating lines on his helmet, note that we see captive leaders sporting beards too but when it comes to the ‘Feather-Crown’ warriors we have captive leaders both with and without facial hair. (From the Land Battle Frieze at Medinet Habu Temple Complex).
Colour as a form of Identification.
With the topic of the relevance of colour to rank and identification of units I will attempt to show how important colour was for this purpose at a time when warfare was becoming more organised.
Using colour in armour is certainly helpful in identification of units in battle not just to keep certain formations of men acting in cohesive units were colour might have played a more central role but also in keeping warriors of certain units together in cohesive units and instilling in these units a sense of identification to brotherhood and bonding rather than the Heroic period where less organised melee fighting would have been the preferred norm.
I t can also be seen as a cultural practice based on Heroic confrontation and a deep religious duty to one’s self for the purpose of winning everlasting glory before the gods and to be forever remembered for your deeds by the stories told of your heroic endeavours through the Bards.
It is important to note that the relevance of colour to identification of units and rank could also be related to forms of cultural aesthetic, especially when dealing with the issue of whether the colour was chosen purely on rank and unit identification or as to whether colour would have also played a role in religious symbolism, and which colours are most likely to have been used to express these roles.
In conclusion I will also address the origins of the disc and ball fixture from both an Aegean and Egyptian perspective including examples from both Civilizations.
- SYMBOLISM & RELIGION – RELIGIOUS SIGNIFICANCE AND SYMBOLIC MEANING TO HORNED-HELMET DESIGN.
Religion & Symbolism.
The question of whether religious significance and symbolic meaning can be attributed to the ball or disc fixtures and horns present on these types of helmets.
Religion and symbolism go hand in hand and none more so than in the ancient past. Therefore the investigation as to the possible religious-symbolic meaning of horns and disc or ball fixtures is vital to understanding why these practices are so prevalent in Bronze Age Helmet designs from the Aegean and surrounding regions.
It is vital to understand that when we view these warriors adorned with Horned –helmets not to make the mistake of purely seeing a helmet alone and a few fixtures added to improve appearance.
In this depiction of Shardana Royal Guards we see the popular ‘HORNED-CAP’ warn with vertical marking, possibly raised metal or painted lines. What is interesting is the size of their swords, if correct in scale to the individuals carrying them we see for the first time some very large, by bronze age standards, swords, whether exaggerated to enhance their appearance and prowess is another thing altogether but if even remotely accurate then we are dealing with some exceptional warriors professionally skilled in the use of what can only be termed as Bronze Age Broad-Sword fighting. The shape is so typical of Achaean- Mycenaean swords of the period, but it must also be mentioned that there are Egyptian parallels to this design and they may very well be Egyptian variations based on Achaean designs.
We are dealing with peoples of deep religious conviction, were faith was far more deeply entwined in their every-day lives and being, and even more so on the battle field.
This fascinating model recreation of a Shardana Elite Bodyguard goes a very long way to understanding the actual shape and design of the helmets used by these warriors, what’s more is the fact that they are perfectly suited to hot environments providing the most amount of protection for the head for the least amount of sacrifice to aeration, weight and comfort. The fact that the helmet is painted white, a colour used throughout the scorching climate of the Mediterranean for reflecting heat is noteworthy as is the painted vertical black lines, again possibly reflecting earlier forms constructed from organic materials such as ox-hide or similar material. The oversized disc although may be rather thick in cross-section but it comes close to replicating the actual depictions rather well, but to wear such a helmet any adornments have to be weight relevant and justifiable even if they have significance as a unit identifier in the thick of battle.
This helmet in no way interferes in the warriors ability to move rapidly and allows the maximum possible extent in visibility and hearing, a vital asset in situations where the ‘Fog of War’ can sometimes lead to disastrous consequences. (The source of the Model Company and modeller is unknown).
The way in which that religious conviction would have played a role in the appearance of a warrior whose every move was judged in life and decided in death by a host of Divine Beings is an interesting thought and one I will address in more detail as this topic unfolds.
Much has been said about the cultural origins of the horned helmet but throughout the Bronze Age world, from Northern Europe to the Mediterranean each culture and civilization has its own specific way of rendering horns on helmets and although the idea may have first originated in the Mesopotamian Plains the use had spread far and wide. These Shardana Bodyguards exemplify their Aegean origins through their own weapons and armour specific arrangement, although dressed in Egyptian garments they retain their own style of weapons, so indicative of Aegean ancestry, the two warriors crossing swords is of particular interest and may very well show a cultural practiced preserved here in stone, the purpose of which is now lost to time. From THE SEA PEOPLES – Warriors of the ancient Mediterranean by Nancy K. Sanders, Thames and Hudson, 1978.
The eventual transition and replacement of the Feminine Goddess-cult worship as the chief deities to one dominated by Male Gods and the worship of the masculine will be given a special mention in this chapter.
The two captive Sea Peoples warriors aboard the Egyptian warship depicted in the Naval Battle frieze from the Medinet Habu Temple Complex wear a helmet design that cannot be mistaken for anything short of Achaean, the individual warrior to the right sports such a well preserved and clearly well-defined helmet design so intimately paralleling Achaean designs with its distinctive shape that no real confusion can be made as to their origins even if one is willing to argue some obscure point of view to the opposite. (From the MEDINET HABU REPORTS I – THE EPIGRAPHIC SURVEY 1928-31 by Harold H. Nelson).
An example of a Horned-helmeted Sea Peoples warrior sporting a well preserved ‘CAP-HELMET’ type with concentric lines, possibly painted or incised to represent early forms worn by their ancestors.
A wonderfully preserved colour depiction of a Shardana Sea Peoples warrior from Luxor showing the ‘yellow’ colouration of the helmet possibly indicating its bronze composition and the cross-hatched lines, presumably painted lines again representing a cultural ‘tipping of the hat’ acknowledgement to earlier forms worn by the warriors ancestors. Pay very careful attention to the horns and Disc/Ball attachments and how the sculptor has gone to lengths to separate, differentiate them from the rest of the outline of the helmet which is interesting to note as this may well be an attempt by the sculptor to accurately preserve a vital piece of military regalia worn by these warriors. Of particular interest is the horn which shows an attempt to differentiate its composition, presumably of animal horn or other material composition, here the possibility of the use of metal is one possibility.
The strongly marked features of this fallen Sea Peoples warrior from the Naval Battle frieze at Medinet Habu raises some very interesting questions for the reader. The obvious attempt by the sculptor to preserve the ethnicity of the individual is remarkable; as one can observe for oneself the striking European features begs the question. Even more notable, when compared, is the similarity to Hittite captive warriors in their Indo-European appearance, a similarity shared by The Known Indo-European families of peoples which the Hittites, Achaeans and Minoans are now known to descend from. From THE SEA PEOPLES – Warriors of the ancient Mediterranean by Nancy K. Sanders, Thames and Hudson, 1978.
The Feather Helmet – A symbolic Crown.
Finally I will also address for the sake of completeness the reason for the ‘Feather Headdress’ or ‘Feather Helmet’ of the accompanying warriors from the same scenes and why we see far more warriors wearing this specific type of helmet than we encounter in any one piece of evidence where Sea Peoples warriors are depicted in the Egyptian sources.
The ‘Feather-Crown’ Helmets prominently sported by this group of Sea Peoples Warriors from the Naval Battle frieze. Here we observe the same style of design, repeated everywhere in the Land Battle Frieze also.
The ’Feather Helmet’ does present a separate issue worthy of serious examination on a more detailed level than here in this chapter and as a mention, it is altogether more probably grounded in the worship of or representation of a more predominantly Goddess-worship religion, but one in where Male goods are also worshiped but to a lesser extent.
In this group of ‘feather-Crown’ helmeted Sea Peoples Warriors from the same frieze we see again the attempt of the Egyptian sculptors to preserve as much as possible the detail in the war-gear of the enemy combatants. The central figure raises a very important question, where do we see a neck-guard with such similarities elsewhere in the Mediterranean world, its striking resemblance to the Boars’ Tusk Helmets of the Minoans and Achaean Mycenaeans warriors is unavoidable.
A remarkable and overlooked feature of the well-known ‘Feather-Crown’ Helmet of the Sea Peoples Warriors is just how well fitting these helmets seem to be. Material composition and weight aside, the helmets seem to convey a well thought out design with all the protective features available to a warrior of the period incorporated in an efficient well protective design giving excellent hearing and visibility whilst obviously in some degree providing substantial protection against Bronze Ae weapons of the time when we look at what might be the composition of the hidden cranial portion of the Hemet.
The Late Peter Connolly has stated that the helmet of the Sea Peoples could so easily be made the same way as the Boars’-Tusk helmet design but with the thongs turned up at the ends and held in place with a band possibly made of bronze. Presumably also the bands could be stiffened and dyed but also left in place with a thick band of dyed horse-hair instead.
The ability of many strips of leather bands forming multiple layers of stiff ox-hide to act as a shock absorber against blows from above to the cranial region of the head is noteworthy and cannot be dismissed.
So a helmet that at first appearance seems more of a visually striking statement rather than a sound piece of arms development appears now at further analysis and inspection to be a rather effective, efficient and sturdy piece of defensive Body Armour with a singularly unique appearance unmistakable amongst the entire plethora of Bronze Age cultures whom spout helmet designs peculiar to them alone.
In this final scene we see a variation of the same ‘Feather-Crown’ Helmet sporting an interestingly different head-band configuration (vertical lines instead of circles). It would be easy to assume that this variation might be taken to be a sign of rank or tribe within the main body of the army of these warriors, it might just as well indicated none of the above and could simply be an alternate form of decoration to a standard design, their purpose, if any is unclear.
The neck-guard in the overwhelming majority of ‘Feather-Crown’ Helmeted warriors portrays a ‘Lobster-Tail’ construction allowing for the neck to remain flexible by providing movement through overlapping pieces of loosely stitched ox-hide or similar material. This gives excellent protection to the neck for relatively little weight as toughened ox-hide or leather segments of hide when treated can be most resilient to cuts and blows. Unfortunately such materials do not stand the test of time and it may be for this single reason that no surviving example of this type of helmet has ever been found, whether in the Levant, Anatolia or the Aegean Greek world.
From the Old Gods to the New Gods
The Matriarchal Helmet.
As both types of helmet, as well as the entire array of head gear that make up the family of Bronze Age Aegean helmets, are gradually replaced by those predominantly sporting Horse-hair crests both in the stilted and traditional forms seen on early Kegel, and Later Illyrian, Corinthian, Attic and Chalcidian helmets, the Horse being the representation, the personification of the most dominant of the pantheon of Bronze Age Mycenaean-Greek Gods – Poseidon! – The God of the Sea and Earth-Quakes!
A close-up of the ceremonial ‘Crown’ worn by a Minoan Priestess from the Ayia Triada Sarcophagus at the Herakleion Archaeological Museum, Crete.
A Thought from Lakodaemon
The ceremonial crown worn in this detailed close-up of the Minoan Priestess shows striking if not parallel resemblances to the now familiar ‘Feather-Crown’ Helmets of the Sea Peoples Warriors from the Medinet Habu friezes.
Furthermore would it be such a leap of faith to say that in both images presented side by side in the following composite image the Priestess and her ceremonial ‘Crown’ represent the religious order whilst the warrior with his ‘Feather-Crown’ represent the military order of the same culture.
A bound Teucrian/Tjekker (T3kr) Priest-King or Prince?
What’s more, one represents the Life giving Devine Feminine Goddess whilst the other represents the Destructive Masculine Physical force.
On a final note it could very well be that the reason we see all the warriors from the Medinet Habu Friezes depicted wearing the ‘feather-Crown’ Helmets as clean-shaven may very well turn out to be that the warrior order is attempting to symbolically represent the facial form of their Divine Feminine Goddess by symbolically keeping themselves as ‘Clean-Shaven’, thus representing the Feminine Goddess’s facial form when going into battle.
Several depictions of the ceremonial crowns worn by Minoan priestess and their striking similarities to the ‘Feather-Crown’ Helmets of the Sea Peoples Warriors depicted on the Temple friezes at Medinet Habu.
This is very much like earlier Aegean warriors carried the figure-eight shield into battle as a representation of the feminine Goddess form to provoke an act of Devine protection, this smooth and clean feminine facial form is interesting and may very well be the key to understanding the warrior and captive leader depictions and as to why the infantry are clean shaven and why their captive leaders sport beards.
If we look at the Minoans as an obvious example the Priestess or Queen is sometimes representative of the Goddess in religious rituals – the clean feminine facial form whilst the King or High-Priest is represented wearing a beard in religious ceremonies, usually seen holding the axe that will be used to sacrifice the ceremonial bull at the Altar.
And I may ask how often, for those of you who study the wanderings of the Mycenaean Elite across the Aegean and Anatolian Coasts in their attempts to discover Isles and lands ripe for the conquest and settlement so as to establish their very own kingdoms do we hear of ‘Priest-Kings’ Such as Mopsus who ranged far and wide up and down the Southern coastline of Asia Minor.
Bound Teucrian/Tjekker (T3kr) Priest-Kings or Princes?
So when we look at the captive leaders are the medallions they wear around their necks indicating their religious position and importance in society as well as their Military Leadership, so by going into battle armoured-up wearing medallions or symbolic tokens of their religious –military elite order they are assuming the Ultimate in symbiosis of the masculine and Feminine Goddess form.
A depiction of one of the two main Minoan Priestesses from the Ayia Triada Sarchophagus at the Herakleion Museum, Crete.
A depiction of a Minoan Priestess from the Ayia Triada Sarcophagus at the Herakleion Museum, Crete.
A Reconstruction of the main scene from the Ayia Triada Sarcophagus depicting the Minoan Priestess wearing her ceremonial crown unusually familiar in that it has a striking resemblance to the ‘Feather- Crown’ Helmets of the Sea Peoples Warriors from Medinet Habu. Illustration by Peter Connolly.
Another closer look of one of the Minoan Priestesses from the Ayia Triada Sarcophagus at the Herakleion Museum, Crete.
Priest-King Captives and their Warrior elite Army reflecting in both forms representations of their worship of the Divine Feminine Goddess through their symbolic Military attire and physical presentation. Note the similarity reproduced in the form of the helmet chin-strap attachment next to the ears of both warrior and captive leader on the left.
One may say that the inclusion of the beard in the captive leaders of the Sea Peoples does not correspond with the fact that their troops are clean shaven as representation of the Feminine Mother Goddess’s appearance, the beard may also be a symbol of high status amongst the then Bronze Age cultures as with so many of the eastern Mediterranean cultures of the Bronze Age Bearded elders reflected wisdom, maturity, experience and authority.
The ‘WHITE GODDESS’ or ‘WHITE QUEEN’ fragments from the fresco of a plaster dump from the North-West slope, Pylos.
The ‘WHITE GODDESS’ or ‘WHITE QUEEN’ plaster fragments from Pylos with her ‘Crown’ reconstructed here as the Goddess Hera (right) with the Goddess Athena (left) in accompaniment, by Peter Connolly from – The legend of Odysseus, By Peter Connolly 1986.
In conclusion I hope to show a wider religious upheaval and the meaning to the use of such ‘fixtures’ and how they may pertain to the gradual replacement of the Matriarchal system of religious worship to one based on a more male-dominated Patriarchal structure.
The Patriarchal Helmet.
Patriarchal Horned Helmet with horse-hair plume indicative of Zeus the Bull and Poseidon’s Horses? The scene here depicts King Menaleus’s victory in single combat over the Wife stealing Prince of Ilios – Paris. From The Legend of Odysseus, written and illustrated by Peter Connolly., Oxford University Press, 1986.
It is important to understand that as the Feminine Goddess cults gave way to the later Authority of the Masculine God worship of Zeus and Poseidon the worship of the Olympian Feminine Goddesses Hera, Aphrodite and Athena still continued to progress hand-in-hand with their male counterparts but the time of the Mother-Goddess Cults had come to a slow demise as Zeus the Avenger Assumed principle High and all-powerful role as Supreme God of the Greek World, interestingly enough the pronunciation of Zeus can be broken down to “ZE-US” and the modern Greek name for the God of Abraham – “O THEOS” is uncanny but not when you delve a little closer one belies the ancestry of the other, the close linguistic similarities is overwhelming, “ZE-US” evolving to “ZE-OUS” in turn to “THE-OUS” and eventually “THE-OS” Supreme God of creation and of all Men!
The Patriarchal Horned Helmet- with horse-hair plume indicative of Zeus the Bull and Poseidon’s Horses worn by King Diomedes of Argos born to Tydeus and Deipyle. In this depiction reconstructed by Peter Connolly Diomedes gives chase to the Goddess who started the whole mess that became the Trojan War – Aphrodite who carries her wounded son Aeneas from the battle field hotly pursued by the King of Argos, interestingly attired as a Se Peoples Warrior! From The Legend of Odysseus, written and Illustrated by Peter Connolly, 1986.
A more detailed look at Diomedes Horned and crested Helmet from the previous scene (Hypothetical), the similarities between the helmets of Diomedes and the Horned-Helmeted warriors depicted the Naval Battle scene from Medinet Habu, even without the horse-hair crest, is noteworthy.
From The Legend of Odysseus, written and Illustrated by Peter Connolly, 1986.
Horns discovered at Dendra, From The Legend of Odysseus, written and Illustrated by Peter Connolly, 1986.
Patriarchal Horned Helmet- with horse-hair plume indicative of Zeus the Bull and Poseidon’s Horses.
This stunning 54mm white metal model recreation from Art Girona of the King of Mycenae – Agamemnon, captures accurately for the first time the stunning armour of the Mycenaeans and just goes to show through the archaeological process the recovered types of armour and weaponry available to the Late Bronze Age Period Achaean Elite!
Head-on view of the Art Girona’s Agamemnon. There is very little here to fault with the model makers accuracy to detail, the thick war-kilt is exceptional as is the detail to the footwear and leg guards.
Through Homer’s detailed description of the Armour of Agamemnon this model expertly recovers the very advanced and practical armour being produced by the Mycenaean Greeks Armourers of the Late Bronze Age just before the demise of the Mycenaean Palatial System.
Frontal oblique view of the Art Girona’s Agamemnon. Noteworthy is the degree of flexibility in movement the model portrays in this stunning energetic pose.
Noteworthy are the Shoulder-Guards or Pauldrons, a unique piece of armoured development by Greek Armourers and exclusively unique to the Bronze Age Greeks and never seen anywhere in the archaeological record outside of the Mycenaean – Minoan Civilization sphere in any depicted form.
The shoulder guards were probably used to counter the ability of the later Naue II Type swords coming into Greece from Central Europe at this time and which Homer states could sever a man’s arm completely off at the shoulder!
Rear-view of the Art Girona’s Agamemnon. Noteworthy is the inclusion of a Hand-Guard and the coverage the shoulder-guards give to the rear upper back.
Side rear oblique view of Art Girona’s Agamemnon. Noteworthy is the detailing of the shield. Noteworthy here is the helmets excellent design characteristics allowing full protection of the head but allowing for excellent hearing and visibility.
Front Side oblique view of Art Girona’s Agamemnon. Noteworthy here is the Neck-guard engraved with multiple serpents which has its parallel in the Dendra armour panoply neck-guard.
An exploded reconstruction diagram of the Dendra Panoply showing the large Neck-Guard, by Peter Connolly from The Greek Armies by Peter Connolly.
A Model reconstruction of the Dendra army produced by Peter Connolly, from The Legend of Odysseus 1986, and which appears in the BBC 6-part BBC TV documentary series In Search of the Trojan War, Episode 3 – The Singer of Tales, written and presented by Michael Wood in 1985.
A scale cuirass is shown on an Egyptian wall painting; the neck-guard on this cuirass is similar to the one from the Dendra armour Panoply. From The Legend of Odysseus by Peter Connolly 1986.
Another rendition, slightly altered in appearance, of the stunning 54mm white metal model recreation from Art Girona of the King of Mycenae – Agamemnon’s stunning armour shows through the archaeological process the recovered types of armour and weaponry available to the Late Bronze Age Period Achaean Elite! One must add a finishing note that no comparable examples of Minoan helmets feature horns the overwhelming majority are those of the boars tusk construction or designs born out of a derivative of them, whilst with the Achaean/Aegeans of the late Bronze Age, of which the Art Girona model superbly illustrates, we see predominantly bronze horned-helmets sporting horse-hair crests or plumes.
Patriarchal Horned Helmet- with horse-hair plume indicative of Zeus the Bull and Poseidon’s Horses. Another close-up view of the Art Girona Agamemnon showing the detail of the dressed-up version of the basic form of helmet depicted so many times in the Naval Battle Frieze and elsewhere at Medinet Habu.
- HORNS OF A DILEMA – SOURCES DEPICTING THE ABSENCE OF HORNS ON SIMILAR OR IDENTICAL HELMET DESIGNS.
Helmets without Horns.
This section will deal with the possible reasons for the absence of horns on certain examples of basic horned helmet design. Using the conclusions drawn from “SYMBOLISM & RELIGION – RELIGIOUS SIGNIFICANCE AND SYMBOLIC MEANING TO HORNED-HELMET DESIGN” I will address the significance of this practice and ascertain whether practical considerations are applicable or a completely different component is at work.
The example of a line-up of marching Soldiers of Ramses III from the Temple relief, Medinet Habu wearing the distinctive horned helmets so reminiscent of Mycenaean helmets. From Homerische Helme by Jurgen Borchhardt, 1972
Paying special attention to the first and last warrior shows the absence of horns, this may be due to illustrative omission but the outlines of both helmets are very much in evidence.
If we are dealing with a genuine detailed military record which shows certain individuals lacking horns then we have to ask the question are these warriors of higher rank an therefore their positions in the line-up strategic. The possibility of file-leaders is one possibility as senior officers helping keep the line and file formations in order and cohesion.
The religious connotations aside concerning the use of horns one cannot help but regard this design as rather advanced.
The design incorporates all the necessary features required to fulfil complete defensive coverage of the cranial region whilst allowing excellent hearing aeriation and visibility, the issue of weight is a matter for later investigation but Aegean Bronze helmets discovered throughout the Aegean world tend to show structural sturdiness without the sacrifice of considerable weight penalties.
As the trade-off between lightness in mass (weight) and structural strength has been a continuous process amongst advanced armour producing cultures, an issue which must have played an important role in determining the shape of the helmet and its function in combat.
One could be forgiven for asking why when all that is being examined is an example of a well-known form of Horned Helmet without horns.
But in this example we can clearly see the Mycenaean Form so vividly brought to life in Peter Connolly’s ‘The Legend of Odysseus’. The example taken From Medinet Habu clearly shares identical features with those of the Helmet of Diomedes King of Argos and one of the Heroes of the Trojan War. Although hypothetical, as we do not know what type of armour Diomedes wore, it is still safe to show him in the armour of a warrior typically found in the Argolid at this time.
In the first year of his campaign against the Hittites a contingent of Ramesses II’s foreign troops, probably Shardana, are storming the fortress Deper in Amurru. They wield long swords and wear tasselled kilts and the horned Shardana helmet without a disc. Note the round shields appear to have bossed decoration, and contrary to the usual Egyptian convention the helmets are shown in true profile. From The SEA PEOPLES – Warriors of the ancient Mediterranean, by Nancy K. Sanders.
These particular helmets tend towards indicating an earlier design, as they exhibit a simpler style that may be the precursor to those seen in the Medinet Habu friezes.. The inclusion of a horn in true profile may indicate a single horn or two horns, the second implied.
The swords strike one as Mycenaean/Minoan Type-A and the bossed shields as at least owing their origins to Aegean forms.
We must avoid the attempt to over-simplify the design because we see it in formalised reduced-detail form, such helmets were obviously designed with a great deal of consideration if we follow the design philosophy behind their later forms seen at the Medinet Habu friezes.
It is very interesting to note that in the archaeological record of a foreign nation we find an actual representation of a known Mycenaean helmet form preserved in stone for us to examine and compare with those of the same family of helmets represented in another frieze (The Naval Battle frieze) at the very same location where we are still left guessing as to the identity of the warriors involved?
In this line-up of four horn-less helmets worn by the Mercenary Aegean contingent in the Land Battle frieze we see four distinctive design forms, the two examples on the right match one another very closely though the example on the far-right has the ears shrouded and its opposite facing counterpart shows an example of exposed ear rendering this example a closer fitting style where the ears are not shielded from the rim of the helmet.
The first example to the far-left shows affinity to the previous image of the first examples illustrated at the beginning of this section. This avoids the raised rim across the brow of the warriors in the other three examples and shows the extension down in front of the ears presumably used to affix a chin-strap, it still shows the ear exposed but still shrouded.
Much has be written and discussed as to the possible Aegean Origins of the Horned-helmeted warriors in the Naval Battle Frieze at Medinet Habu.
In Search of Troy and the Sea Peoples.
In Michael Wood’s Documentary series ‘In Search of the Trojan War’ episode 6 – ‘The Fall of Troy’ Dr. Elizabeth French of Manchester University explains that though places like Pylos may have gone (burned and sacked) by the IIIC Period, but the IIC period was a very prosperous one at Places like Tiryns and that Tiryns had its greatest extent at this time, she then follows this by postulating the idea that Tiryns may very well have been the Base for the Sea Peoples!
Another much earlier rendition of what Tiryns may have looked like in its heyday.
Dr. Elizabeth French then goes on to explain why she believes that the term ‘Raiders’ is used incorrectly to describe the Mycenaeans whom she believes should really be seen as entrepreneurs, Buccaneers and not raiders, possibly raiding in certain places, much Like Drake’s Lot in the West Indies, being bad if they had to, being good in other places.
A Bull-Leaping fresco found at Tiryns (now at the National Archaeological Museum of Athens).
This is strong evidence indeed, and there is no reason to doubt that this is not the case.
It never fails to amaze me then, when an enlightened mind comes along, and has the understanding to see the mistake previous scholars have made by incorrectly Labelling a culture or peoples within it.
The Boar Hunt fresco from Tiryns in Athens National Museum.
By then changing a dubious tittle incorrectly attributed to a people you irrevocably change the way in which you perceive a culture and/or a people, and thus by exposing previous examinations on the subject as erroneous you begin to see the situation in a completely different and corrected light.
The ‘WHITE GODDESS’ or ‘WHITE QUEEN’ fragments from the fresco of a plaster dump from the North-West slope, Pylos.
The Second Boar Hunt fresco from Tiryns in Athens National Museum.
A wonderful section of a fresco depicting a boar hunt scene, a wild Boar and two hunting dogs partially preserved. The Fragments from a miniature mural depicting a scene of boar hunting, from Orchomenos (13th century B.C). Pictures from the on-line catalogue of the museum; The Archaeological Museum of Thebes, by Vassilios Aravantinos, Olkos publications (2010).Photography: Socrates Mavrommatis.
Getting your Location Right.
Although both of these groups of warriors may very well wear armour and carry weapons in the Mycenaean-style it is just as likely that they may very well have originated from a yet unmentioned overseas colony or an un-described and overlooked part of the Aegean world.
The fortification of MONOLITHOS, West coast of Rhodes, Greece. Are we looking at the actual coastline of the real Ahhiyawa, and should we be focusing our investigations on the immediate Anatolian coastline adjacent to the Isle of Rhodes for the real culprits of the story that most probably reigned here during the time traditionally attested to as the period of the Trojan War.
The Bronze Age name of this Greek Isle has come down to us preserves as AHHIYAWA. Therefore should we not start to consider the Island as the territory of Ahhiyawa in view of the fact that the Great King of Ahhiyawa Know to the Hittites as Piyamaradu and his Interference in the region of the Anatolian mainland that prompted the Hittites to respond with an expeditionary force to subdue the troublesome Royal. This may in one way also reflect sea-born attacks/raids made by this principle character and his army as Peoples of the Sea which Egyptian sources recorded as those Sea Peoples who conspired in their Isles.
Piyamaradu (also spelled Piyama-Radu, Piyama Radu, Piyamaradus, Piyamaraduš) was a warlike personage whose name figures prominently in the Hittite archives of the middle and late 13th century BC in western Anatolia. His history is of particular interest because it appears to intertwine with that of the Trojan War. Some scholars assume that his name is cognate to that of King Priam of Troy.
Meaning of the name
The second part of the word was earlier believed to be an unknown theonym Radu, but since Luwian words do not start with an r, it must be aradu, which may be a noun meaning “devotee”, derived “from arada- ‘religious community (vel sim.)’, itself a derivative of ara-‘associate’ (cf.Hittite ara- ‘id.’).
The identity and exploits of Piyamaradu
Piyamaradu’s renegade activities are remarkable for their duration, having spanned at least 35 years, during which time he posed a considerable threat to three Hittite kings: Muwatalli II, Hattusili III, andTudhaliya IV.
Popular conjecture proposes that Piyamaradu was the legitimate heir of Uhha-Ziti, a previous king of Arzawa who was dethroned by the Hittite king Mursili II, and probably the son of his sonPiyama-Kurunta, although this is entirely speculative, and he is nowhere referred to as a prince. Bryce and Sommers prefer to describe him as a “rebellious Hittite dignitary”. His attacks and raiding activities on the Hittite vassal states in Western Anatolia of Arzawa, Seha, Lazpa (Lesbos) and Wilusa (Troy) have been interpreted by some scholars as an attempt to reassert his own dynastic claim. This he probably did in concert with an application to the Great King of Hatti to be accepted into Hittite vassal status as a sub-king.
When his application was deprecated, he rebelled, wishing to assert his putative dynastic rights. The Great King of Hatti suppressed him through the agency of a certain other trusted vassal, Manapa-Tarhunta. Piyamaradu, on the other hand, allied with the Great King of Ahhiyawa (Achaea, i.e. Mycenean Greece), and married his daughter to Atpa, the vassal ruler of Millawanda (Miletus).
Because he had asserted himself against the Great King of Hatti, and allied himself with the Great King of Ahhiyawa, his characterization in the Hittite archives is that of “troublemaker”, “adventurer”, “freebooter”, or “mercenary”; from his own point of view he may have considered himself merely to be asserting his own rightful (hereditary?) status. The salience of his exploits in the record, together with his name and claim, render dynastic parameters plausible, but still entirely speculative.
Identification with Homeric personages
Piyamaradu has been conjectured by some, to correspond to the archetype embodied in the epic/legendary Priam of Troy in the Iliad. The epic Priam’s son Paris/Alexandros, identified with Alaksandu, a Wilusan king known to have made a treaty with the Hittite monarch Muwatalli II, has a less speculative identification.
Piyamaradu is often (wrongly) designated as a “king” of Wilusa in a number of modern sources. The extant evidence regarding the renegade subject, however, allows no such designation.
The relevant Hittite archival correspondence referring to him include:
- Manapa-Tarhunta letter…a notorious local troublemaker called Piyamaradu is harrying Wilusiya, a land of the Assuwa federation loosely allied with the Hittite Empire. The Hittite king has apparently ordered Manapa-Tarhunda to drive out Piyamaradu himself, but Manapa-Tarhunda’s attempt has failed, so that a Hittite force is now sent out to deal with the problem.”
- Tawagalawa letter The letter would be more appropriately known as the ‘Piyama-Radu letter'”.
- Milawata letter Like the Tawagalawa letter and also the Manapa-Tarhunta letter, the Milawata letter mentions the infamous adventurer Piyama-Radu; but as a figure of the past.”
- Letter from a King of Hatti (Hattusili III?) to another Great King. Includes a reference to Piyamaradu along with the King of Ahhiyawa, but the text is too fragmentary for interpretation.
- Votive Prayer of Puduhepa, consort of Hattusili III and chief priestess. Dated mid-thirteenth century B.C.E., Puduhepa has traveled to the sea to make an offering in return for the sea god’s intervention in apprehending Piyamaradu. One other god is appealed to, but the reference to the god’s name is fragmentary.
(Sourced from Wikipedia).
Nothing here in this photo can give us a definitive answer as to the origins of this individual only that he dresses and arms himself in a manner typical of Mycenaean warriors but he may very well just have come from a Mycenaean colony from the Island of Rhodes, Crete or Cyprus.
As I have previously mentioned the old Bronze Age Mycenaean name for the Greek Island Of Rhodes was Ahhiyawa!
A splendid Map of the Hittite and associated territories at the time of the Hittite King Amuwanda I showing the possible Ahhiyawan territories but excludes the Island Fortress of Rhodes.
So you can see the dilemma that confronts us when such little known pieces of information which sit around waiting to be discovered in a book written in 1930 comes to light.
A splendid Map of the Hittite and associated territories reclaimed from Arzawa but not Ahhiyawa at the time of the Hittite King Tudhaliya II (early 14th century BC) successor to Arnuwanda I (early 14th century BC) showing the possible Ahhiyawan territories but excludes the Island Fortress-Island of Rhodes and the smaller Isles of Karpathos, Kassos, Armathia and Makronisi.
- DESIGN VARIATION OR STANDARDIZATION – WHY DID MANY DIFFERENT EXAMPLES EXIST.
Here I will examine the wide range of designs we have come to call ‘Horned-Helmets’ depicted primarily in the Egyptian sources but with examples from the Aegean world.
Classical Greece as an Example.
For anyone who is intimate with Ancient Greek Infantry equipment you will be well aware of the large varieties of helmets that exist within any one given design.
Styles such as the Corinthian, Illyrian (Kegel), Attic and Chalcidian helmet are expressed from all over the Greek world in many elaborate forms.
The rarest photo from Olympia! The Olympia museum storeroom shows a bewildering array of Corinthian Helmets of all descriptions!
The Aegean World – A hive of Military Industry.
It is my belief that so too the examples of Horned-Helmets present from Egyptian sources mirror the same process.
There are however pitfalls when it comes to differentiating varieties of Bronze Age Armour, especially when we deal with such an elusive a subject as Helmets.
So little has come down to us as regards to actual examples that the helmets that are recovered only offer a window into what other styles may have existed.
On the other hand when it comes down to Swords and Daggers we are spoilt for choice. This either reinforces the belief that armour was too precious a commodity to be buried with its previous owner or that the practice of doing so was only reserved for the nobility, hence the Dendra Armour or that most if not all of the armour was composed of perishable organic material that broke down over the last 3-3,500 years.
Type-A Rapier swords From Die Schwerter in Griechenland (ausserhalb der Peloponnes), Bulgarien und Albanien (Prähistorische Bronzefunde. Abteilung 4) by Imma Kilian-Dirlmeier, 1993.
I am of course concentrating on the helmets depicted in the Naval Battle scene, but there are numerous Egyptian sources that do show a surprising uniformity in armour and equipment of the so called Mercenary Sea People units employed by the Egyptians.
Type-A Rapier swords From Die Schwerter in Griechenland (ausserhalb der Peloponnes), Bulgarien und Albanien (Prähistorische Bronzefunde. Abteilung 4) by Imma Kilian-Dirlmeier, 1993.
Type-A Rapier swords From Die Schwerter in Griechenland (ausserhalb der Peloponnes), Bulgarien und Albanien (Prähistorische Bronzefunde. Abteilung 4) by Imma Kilian-Dirlmeier, 1993.
Type-B swords From Die Schwerter in Griechenland (ausserhalb der Peloponnes), Bulgarien und Albanien (Prähistorische Bronzefunde. Abteilung 4) by Imma Kilian-Dirlmeier, 1993.
Type-Ci Rapier swords From Die Schwerter in Griechenland (ausserhalb der Peloponnes), Bulgarien und Albanien (Prähistorische Bronzefunde. Abteilung 4) by Imma Kilian-Dirlmeier, 1993.
Type-Ci Rapier swords From Die Schwerter in Griechenland (ausserhalb der Peloponnes), Bulgarien und Albanien (Prähistorische Bronzefunde. Abteilung 4) by Imma Kilian-Dirlmeier, 1993.
Type-Cii Rapier swords From Die Schwerter in Griechenland (ausserhalb der Peloponnes), Bulgarien und Albanien (Prähistorische Bronzefunde. Abteilung 4) by Imma Kilian-Dirlmeier, 1993.
Type-Cii Rapier swords From Die Schwerter in Griechenland (ausserhalb der Peloponnes), Bulgarien und Albanien (Prähistorische Bronzefunde. Abteilung 4) by Imma Kilian-Dirlmeier, 1993.
Type-Ci Rapier swords From Die Schwerter in Griechenland (ausserhalb der Peloponnes), Bulgarien und Albanien (Prähistorische Bronzefunde. Abteilung 4) by Imma Kilian-Dirlmeier, 1993.
Type-Ci & Cii Rapier swords From Die Schwerter in Griechenland (ausserhalb der Peloponnes), Bulgarien und Albanien (Prähistorische Bronzefunde. Abteilung 4) by Imma Kilian-Dirlmeier, 1993.
Type-Di swords From Die Schwerter in Griechenland (ausserhalb der Peloponnes), Bulgarien und Albanien (Prähistorische Bronzefunde. Abteilung 4) by Imma Kilian-Dirlmeier, 1993.
Type-Di swords From Die Schwerter in Griechenland (ausserhalb der Peloponnes), Bulgarien und Albanien (Prähistorische Bronzefunde. Abteilung 4) by Imma Kilian-Dirlmeier, 1993.
Type-Di swords From Die Schwerter in Griechenland (ausserhalb der Peloponnes), Bulgarien und Albanien (Prähistorische Bronzefunde. Abteilung 4) by Imma Kilian-Dirlmeier, 1993.
A Classing of the Sword types A, B C & D through an 800 year time frame from the examples described in this section and most commonly associated to those of the Sea Peoples warriors. Sword-Type Chronological classification Chart from Die Schwerter in Griechenland (ausserhalb der Peloponnes), Bulgarien und Albanien (Prähistorische Bronzefunde. Abteilung 4) by Imma Kilian-Dirlmeier, 1993.
If we take the Land battle frieze for instance we see that every single one of the Sea Peoples warriors are all outfitted in exactly the same war gear, without exception.
In this middle-section of the Land Battle frieze From Medinet Habu the chaos of battle is clearly represented, with hands hacked off the fallen invading warriors, who lie scattered all around the battlefield in heaps whilst the battle still continues, this may be representative of the different stages of the conflict as we progress down the frieze.
The minor exception that in some cases helmets are decorated with a different motif. This standardization of infantry is nothing new in Bronze Age armies; one only has to look at the standardization of troop units in the Pharaonic Army of the same period to see that example in operation but Egypt at this time was a wealthy, prosperous and stable society able to commit resources and funding for military equipment, whereas the Sea Peoples would have had to have come from equally stable prosperous and wealthy regions capable of arming, training and maintaining large standing military forces at almost constant readiness.
Caught between two opposing forces, one Egyptian, the other Aegean Mercenary troops, the invading Peleset find no quarter and are forced in this scene to fight to the death. One does speculate as to the attempt to over exaggerate somewhat in order to prove the battle was overwhelmingly in the Egyptians favour and thus divinely sanctioned in the minds of the Egyptians who gazed upon these images. None the less this does not detract from the accuracy of the entire frieze and cannot be put into doubt concerning the details of what the true horror of the battle must have looked like.
It can be argued if you pay attention to the way the warriors are positioned throughout the frieze that there is a narrative being set up to tell the story of the actual battle in pictographic form. Whether this is provable or not is beside the point as depictions of battles and sieges in Egyptian are do convey a story-telling quality though this is not as obvious to the untrained eye as would first seem.
In some ways the ‘narrative-set-up’ of the entire frieze does become a little more evident if one pays attention to the above scene of an entire swathe of dead Peleset warriors strewed across the battlefield some apparently still in their death throws contorted in agony after having had their hands lopped off. This could only occur if the Peleset warriors were already incapacitated or disarmed to begin with and thus the battle has moved on to the next phase of complete rout and victory.
In this enlarged section both fallen Peleset warriors and those still fighting are grouped together. It is noteworthy to say the least that the ferocity and fighting skills of these warriors was so prized that captives taken after the battle become garrisoned troops guarding vital strategic locations across Egypt and become the bane of Israelite existence for centuries.
This does seem at odds and rather contradictory to the scenes of massed formations of Peleset falling to fewer Egyptian numbers; the fact that the incursions by such warrior tribes seriously weakened Egypt may show another side to the scenes throughout the frieze, one of victory over overwhelming odds against a determined and ruthless foe.
Amongst this particular scene we are treated to the very few exceptions of detailed body armour. The top-most individual in the right-hand corner displays the so-called ‘Lobster-tail’ segmented armour, the fact that eight repeating lines exist on the warriors torso may preclude the idea of segmented body armour, organic, metal or otherwise as this would require eight jointed strips stitched, stapled or otherwise to exist from just below the navel to just under the pectoral muscles, a very short space for so many sections of armour to be present in any form as a protective device.
It would make sense if they are incised or raised from a bronze surface or represent stitch lines of a padded or quilted form or even bands or strips of organic material stitched together to provide a light-weight tough and flexible form of protection for the torso, suitably coloured or possibly reinforced with bands or strips of pre-shaped Bronze stitched into place.
The fact that these bands are raised at an acute angle may preclude the use of bronze strips stapled together in the ‘lobster-shell’ format as this would have to infer a sound practical reason for developing such a system and one which offers obvious advantages over plate armour, maintenance would be an issue for such a number of sections if it were possible.
Functionality through simplicity of design would serve the wearer better if the former forms of stated composition were applied rather than the latter one. One could say at most six or less bronze sections if the ‘Lobster-Shell’ design was to be a practical certainty.
Importantly also is whether the benefits derived from using such a form of body armour would require further detailed investigation to determine whether the system of segmented bronze sections stapled to provide a flexible platform over the torso would derive substantial benefits for the user in combat.
Standing Armies or War Bands – Citizen Soldier or Private Army.
When we look at later examples of say Greek hoplite panoplies there is a marked increase in the variety of armour being produced. Social preferences and the cost of arming aside, it does beg the question what mechanism was involved by such societies as the Sea Peoples that it was possible to arm an entire army without exception with the same Arms and Armour during a period when money did not exist, especially when there was a stark divide between Nobility and the surf population which served them.
Are we dealing here with displaced nobility and their private armies, their families in tow, or is another factor involved here, one which is not so obvious but yet standing in plain sight.
As can be seen from this half of the Land Battle frieze the sheer commotion and chaos generated by so many figures can lead the untrained eye to conclude there is no embedded deign or structure to the masses of figures in the different stages of battle. One could well find it hard to believe, that with the above imagery, just how formidable and effective this warrior army was in capability of weakening Egypt with such loses imposed on it, that the battle was actually somewhat of a dressed-up Pyrrhic victory for the population as a form of propaganda remains a distinct possibility, if this battle really was a “hollow victory” for the Egyptians then it would go some way to addressing the recorded consequences of facing these warrior Peoples.
The second half of the Land Battle frieze shows how the Egyptians using massed chariot formations to break down the opposition forces cohesion and allow their infantry to get at the subsequently bewildered and shaken enemy force.
This form of tactic was used to exceptional effect by the Egyptians not just to break an opposing force’s cohesion but to weaken it further with volley after volley of arrow fire further completing the overwhelming of and subsequent “defeat” of the Peleset.
A victory bought at a high price is still a victory, and there is no reason whatsoever to doubt the veracity of the depictions reproduced at Medinet Habu as reflecting actual phases of the Battle but the lack of fallen Egyptians present in any number does raise suspicion and present a certain problem when dealing with the legitimacy of the claims for “victory”.
If the frieze does truly represent what appears to be a “surprise attack” by combined foot and chariot forces with the Peleset baggage train being particularly targeted then one could say with a degree of certainty that after suffering losses at the hands of a terrible enemy Egypt war eventually victorious through their superior force of arms and skill of their fighting men.
This must surely imply that each individual in the example of the ‘Feather’ Helmet warriors from Medinet Habu was armed at the expense of the nobility that lead them, or that these peoples had to keep large standing armies of professional warriors in constant military readiness, hence the standardization.
There is no obvious indication of rank either or if there was it has long since fade away, bleached off by the weathering and Saharan sun of the past 3,500 years. This opens up an interesting issue as to how such societies functioned in times of relative peace and stability compared to times of conflict, and how the military arm of such Bronze Age cultures was organised and equipped.
- THE TRADE-OFF IN PROTECTION – THE PROS AND CONS OF THE HORNED- HELMET DESIGN.
As with any form of protection provided by a helmet, whether it is made of organic perishable materials or man-made and fashioned from bronze a helmet can only ever be a compromise between providing the wearer with enough complete protection that weighs as little as possible against providing ventilation, good hearing and excellent all-round vision.
A Tale of Heat and Water – Heat Related Stress and Water Consumption.
One overwhelming factor to consider is that of Climate. One cannot forget that Aegean and Anatolian temperatures during the summer can reach as high as the upper 30s degrees centigrade whilst North African temperatures during relatively normal stable periods of weather can reach as high as the mid to upper 40 degrees centigrade, and standing around in these conditions during sweltering heat whilst in full armour can literally bring a man down before the enemy does.
Under normal conditions (mild trekking) In 34 Degree Celsius heat a body can lose up to 1litre of water per hour, to stay hydrated under these normal conditions anyone in 30-40 Degree Celsius temperatures needs to consume at least 2-4 litres of water per day.
Under normal conditions activity in 30-40+ Degree Celsius temperatures for any sustained length of time an individual needs to consume up to 6 litres of water per day to prevent dehydration over-heating and further life threatening conditions such as heat stroke and organ failure.
So the requirements for water consumption for a warrior kitted out in the bronze panoply of a Sea Peoples warrior not including Shield and weapons in or out of combat will be much higher.
Hence the need for battles in these brutal conditions to be as swift and decisive as possible is logical before heat exhaustion and then heat stroke begin to take their toll.
Aeration, Visibility, Hearing and Protection in Open Style Helmets.
If we look carefully at the warriors wearing horned helmets from the naval battle scene we see that they wear a relatively open style of helmet similar in form to Boeotian helmets of later Greek antiquity.
The Ashmolean Boeotian helmet was found in 1854 in the River Tigris at the confluence with its tributary the Sert near Tile in present day Turkey. Mr R.B. Oakley of Oswaldkirk Yorkshire was travelling down the Tigris to Mosul in a raft when the helmet was lifted out of the water by accident by boat hook. An excellent example of the topic area in discussion and a very effective but simple design – the Boeotian Helmet.
Whilst the horned helmets from Medinet Habu provide no protection for the face it does allow excellent all-round visibility, all-round hearing as well as remaining light yet structurally strong thanks to the nature of the curvature of the of the helmet and provides excellent aeration and ventilation.
The same Boeotian helmet this time in side profile, the simple lines and elegant design belie the effectiveness of such headgear on the battlefield, whether as an infantry helmet or as used by cavalrymen.
The same Boeotian helmet this time viewed from the rear. This helmet offers us a peak into the helmet designs of the Bronze Age warriors depicted from Medinet Habu. The deep bowl rimed by pinched sides and an effective deep front rim duplicating the rear portion which itself offers ample protection f or the neck, offers excellent protection from the sun and downward blows, probably a bronze development of an earlier fabric or ox hide design, developed in much the same way as the bronze Pilos conical Helmet, which derived its mass popularity amongst Grecian warriors from humble begins as a soft felt cap used by the everyday layperson.
A fascinating recreation of the Battle of Leuctra fought on July 6th 371 BC by the Military illustrator Johnny Shumate. The absence of any crested helmets is interesting but what is more so is the use of the Boeotian helmet by Theban infantry in the front ranks.
A close-up of the previous recreation by Johnny Shumate paying special attention to the three Theban infantrymen sporting Boeotian helmets. As the Spartan troops wear the popular Pilos Helmet so do the Thebans but the Boeotian helmet was a very popular helmet amongst the Boeotians and particularly amongst the Thebans.
The Reason for the popularity of the Boeotian helmet is plainly evident. Not only is it devoid of cumbersome crests, which add unnecessary weight and an opportunity for an enemy infantryman to grapple the soldier down by pulling at his crest, their design prevents spear points from gaining purchase as the rounded corners are well suited to deflect spear point blows and glancing sword strikes.
Secondly, the deep frontal rim of the helmet gives excellent protection to the face from the glare of the sun and acts as a dead space between itself and the soldier’s face and frontal cranial area from spear-point impacts and glancing sword strikes.
Finally, the Boeotian helmet affords excellent visibility and hearing, both of which are crucial to performing complex battlefield manoeuvres and the fact that it offers excellent aeration to prevent heat exhaustion and heat stroke symptoms is also particularly noteworthy. This makes for a particularly strong, light yet effective form of protection whilst only slightly suffering from the lack of facial protection afforded to by check guard, but the pros vastly out-weigh the cons in this example.
A beautiful recreation of Greek Cavalrymen wearing Boeotian helmets charging down a fleeing Carthaginian infantryman from the Battle of Crimissus in 399 B.C., by the military illustrator Johnny Shumate.
In a close-up of the Grecian cavalrymen we can begin to see why this type of helmet was so popular with Grecian cavalrymen. As described earlier this design compliments the mounted warrior perfectly.
A strong basic shape, simple to produce light to wear yet effectively allowing for good visibility and hearing the design provides everything a cavalryman needs to be able to fight on horseback without tiring, the deep frontal section affords excellent downward coverage from the sun’s rays whilst aeration would be amplified as air would stream around the cranial region cooling the cavalryman down, especially in the hot Mediterranean summers where temperatures can reach scorching upper 40 degrees Celsius in range.
The depiction of an iron Boeotian helmet is noteworthy as the obvious benefits of iron-forged examples must have offered even greater protection than their bronze counterparts.
Another illustration by Johnny Shumate of a Grecian Light Cavalryman equipped for self-defence with only a Xyston Cavalry spear and Kopis sword. His only for of armour comes in the form of a simple Boeotian Helmet. Having no stirrups and only a simple saddle for purchase such combatants could fight more effectively if unhindered by cumbersome armour and crested helmet all of which prevent manoeuvrability and striking speed, essential for any light cavalry units used as harassment forces or in general routs and the perusing of fleeing enemy forces. Thus the Boeotian helmet is more than adequate to perform the job as it sits firmly on the head and offers all the previously described benefits for what is a relatively simple but effective item of body armour to produce.
A close-up of the same individual’s Boeotian helmet. The features of the Boeotian helmet are clearly shown off hear to their maximum extent. The helmets singularly peculiar deep grooves resulting in the peculiar extended rim offer the ears important protection whilst giving excellent all-round hearing, the neck too is given aeriation but ample protection whilst the crown of the helmet with its deep bowl-like shape allows for greater ventilation than a Pilos or Phrygian style of cavalry helmet commonly used by Grecian cavalry of the period.
A model of a Boeotian helmet former from the Allard Pierson Museum in Amsterdam.
It is important here to consider a very fundamental point – why did Grecian forces preferred such designs. The answer would come from the idea of Form-follows-Function philosophy so well developed by Greek armourers, and for good reason.
Another example of a Boeotian helmet former from the Louvre (1484), 3rd century from Memphis.
Functionality on the battlefield was of paramount importance to the Greeks, they did not bring weapons into battle imbued with mystical incantations and engraving with religious significance, nor did they give their swords or spears mythological or bloodthirsty names, there was no need to, for the Greeks these were weapons were tools designed to do a specific job, and that was it.
Need a sword for extreme eyeball-to eyeball close-quarter fighting in the crush of a phalanx othismos – their sword-smiths gave them the Xiphos short sword or Lakonian short sword, a weapon explicitly and ideally suited for the crush of the phalanx were space for manoeuvring a long or medium sword does simply not exist.
We must also mention the fact that the warrior now has a much lighter weapon, which alleviates cramping and tiredness in hot conditions thus not having to wield a heavy sword he is now capable of inflicting precision wounds to vital key areas of an enemies vulnerable points and can deliver a faster strike and put down repeated stabbing strikes to any un-defended portion of an enemies face or upper torso more effectively and with greater accuracy and repeatability than ever before, and now you have the reason for the development of such weapons.
So too as the development of swords and spears progressed, Grecian armourers created knew helmet designs to specifically follow a philosophy of functionality and effective protection all rolled into one simple and effectively cheap mass producible design.
A stunning illustration by the late Peter Connolly of a hoplite engaging a heavily armoured cavalryman wearing a Boeotian helmet.
Again the preferred helmet of choice is the Boeotian design which affords this individual all the necessary benefits for fighting on horseback, excellent visibility and hearing whilst being lightweight and strong in construction, a helmet produced from a single sheet of Bronze or iron beaten over a wooden or marble former.
The Boeotian helmet also protects from direct sunlight and shields the head from downward glancing blows by swords and because of the curvature of the bowl of the helmet arrow and spear points are more likely to glance off the curvature of the helmet than find purchase on a broader relatively flat section or protrusion.
A Remarkable Coincidence?
The interesting factor that draws me to my next observation may surprise some readers and may turn the notion of the Bronze Age Helmet as a simple piece of armour on its head, but the images speak for themselves.
An interesting note about this unusual but fascinating steel helmet
The first experimental steel helmets for modern war from the Helvetic Federation were designed by the painter and sculptor Charles L’Eplattenier and were based on designs from Armour and Wars of Antiquity!
An Argentinian M38 (Swiss M18) steel helmet from the excellent everything-to-do-with-Vintage-Argentinian-Military site militariarg.com (http://www.militariarg.com/steel-combat-helmets).
An Argentinian Helvetic Federation Experimental steel helmet from the excellent everything-to-do-with-Vintage-Argentinian-Military site militariarg.com (http://www.militariarg.com/steel-combat-helmets).
There were a series of models not approved for serial production. The model that was finally approved on January 13, 1918 by the federal council was the design of Colonel Imboden. According to Bashord Dean (chairman of the Armour Committee of the American who supervised the development of the first experimental helmets in the US), in correspondence with Swiss designers, the project was by Dr Edward Gesser (directorial assistance of the Swiss National Museum in Zurich) and sculptor Paul Boesch (lieutenant in the Swiss High Command).
Production first began in the Werker factory in Baden and later in the Metallwarenfabrik in Zug. It had 2 sizes, A and B. They weighed between 1220 and 1230 grams. The steel magnesium material was 1.5mm thick and painted an olive green. They cost 22.50 Swiss francs per unit-a ton of money for the time! There was a lot of 10,000 helmets out of the 603,000 that were produce.
We can clearly see here for the first time where the inspiration for the painter and sculptor Charles L’Eplattenier based his designs on from Armour and Wars of Antiquity may possible be derived from! Here the Swiss M18 (Argentinian M38) plainly shows how after nearly 3,500 years of Body Armour development not much has actually changed.
We can clearly see here for the first time where the inspiration for the painter and sculptor Charles L’Eplattenier based his designs on from Armour and Wars of Antiquity may possible be derived from! Here the Helvetic Federation Experimental steel helmet plainly shows how after nearly 3,500 years of Body Armour development not much has actually changed.
Charles L’Eplattenier (1874–1946) was a Swiss painter and architect.
A contemporary and associate of René Chapallaz, Léon Gallet, and Le Corbusier, L’Eplattenier is considered one of the foremost exponents of Swiss Art Nouveau despite working almost exclusively in the town of La Chaux de Fonds, where from 1897 he taught at the school of decorative arts. He taught the architect Le Corbusier. It is possible that Le Corbusier was influenced in his choice of pseudonym by the name of his teacher.
At the time La Chaux-de-Fonds was developing into one of the leading centres of the Swiss watch industry. Increasing prosperity created a large demand for property and art in the style of the time among the wealthy citizens of the city. L’Eplattenier and his students developed a local form of Art Nouveau known as style sapin (“pine style”) after a frequently recurring motif. Style sapin is characterised by an intensive study of nature and the artistic stylization of indigenous structures.
L’Eplattenier’s works include monuments to the Republic and the politician Numa Droz in La Chaux-de-Fonds, figures and decorative elements in the town’s crematorium and at the cemetery, as well as repoussé and enamel watch case designs for the Gallet Watch Company. Upon funding for construction at the bequeth of Léon Gallet, the Musée des beaux-arts de La Chaux-de-Fonds (Beaux Arts Museum of La-Chaux-de-Fonds) was built to L’Eplattenier’s designs.
L’Eplattenier helmet, on display at Morges military museum.
L’Eplattenier also designed a prototype military helmet designed, which was shunned in favour of the Imboden helmet. They are now prized collectors’ items.
A lover of the outdoors, L’Eplattenier fell to his death from one of the rocky promontories while hiking along the River Doubs, near Brenets, Switzerland.
I cannot help but be reminded of the uncanny resemblance to the German WWI M16 Stahlhelm Steel Helmet, German WWI M18 Steel Helmet, German WWII M35, M36, M40 & M42 Steel helmets the SwissM16 & M18 and Czech Wz30 Steel helmets with their deep bowls and flanged rims fastened with a simple chin strap.
In fact if we look carefully into the development of combat helmets from the first half of the last century to today we can see how the most common and widely used form of ballistic helmet design the ubiquitous American PASGT Ballistic Combat Helmet and its spin-off the American ACH owes its origins to the German M35, M36, M40 and M42 designs so uncannily close in so many respects to a helmet that hasn’t been in use for over 3000 years.
This former Yugoslavian M59/85 steel helmet has the typical characteristics associated with the horned helmet designs worn by the Sea Peoples warriors, even with a slightly shallower design than most it still shows remarkable similarities.
A German WWI M16 Stahlhelm Steel Combat Helmet, M-1916 with Hand Painted Camouflage. Although the Stahlhelm has numerous spin-offs associated with it the closeness in overall design to the Sea Peoples helmet is noteworthy, as with all types of WWI & WWII steel helmets the cradle system which the head rests on would need to exist in a much simpler form in the Sea Peoples horned helmet examples, a simple solution would be to wear a thick padded headband much like medieval knights wore over their coif to allow the helmet to sit comfortably with a tight grip on the headband and allow a space between the head and the helmet to act as a shock absorption system if struck on the helm.
A WWI Austro-Hungarian M17 Stahlhelm Steel Helmet showing the similarities to the horned helmets of the Sea Peoples warriors. Though really very little difference applies here, only sight variance in the deepness of the bowl the basic outline holds true here for comparison with the Bronze Age examples wore by the Sea Peoples.
An M35 German Hungarian Air Force Anti-Aircraft WWII steel helmet. Here the M35, with its shallower bowls comes closer to our Bronze Age helmets in comparison, the Yugoslavian M59 and Swiss Mi8 have obvious components in their design which render them almost identical with the exception of a few minor differences, the German M35 and later M42 were so successful that they have spawned an entire generation in many iterations of Kevlar ballistic helmet designs.
An Original WWII Hungarian M38 Steel Helmet (German M35 Copy). This example, a 4-point view of a German M35, gives us a better perception of the entire helmet from several points and the striking closeness to the horned helmets of the Sea Peoples warriors, with the rear of the helmet in detail. For such a design philosophy to re-emerge after 3,500 years of European helmet design since the Bronze examples of the Aegean should be viewed as an exemplary achievement of ancient Bronze Age Aegean Armourers and their craft.
A German WWII M42 (Stahlhelm 42) Steel Helmet (M1942). Simplicity in form and function produced a superior design of helmet from which ultimately nearly all modern armed forces carry in ballistic Kevlar form.
A 5-point view of a German M35 WWII steel Helmet shows off the lines of this simple but expertly engineered helmet design to the full, and though the manufacturing processes and materials are worlds apart the same basic style/form is achieved.
Having reached the same conclusion from the designer’s point of view the design philosophy for basic head protection uncannily seems to rely to some extent on the wisdom of ancient armourers and people such as Charles L’Eplattenier who went back to antiquity for inspiration and consequently re-discovered forms of helmet from Europe’s deep past that would help engineer the modern-day military drive for head protection designed around ammunition resistant but lightweight forms of helmet that still allow for maximum protection whilst providing excellent visibility, hearing and comfort.
A Swiss M18 (Argentine M38) steel helmet from the Argentinian National Gendarmerie, from the excellent everything to do with vintage Argentinian-Military site militariarg.com (http://www.militariarg.com/steel-combat-helmets).
The designs that inspired such arms designers as Charles L’Eplattenier are exemplified in the M18/38 steel helmet. This view shows what primary factors govern the ultimate shape of a combat helmet. A mass-produced helmet for the early 20th-century with such an ancestry does raise the question, did the ancient Sea Peoples warriors who wore almost identical helmets wear a form of massed produced Bronze Age version from ‘Factories’ geared to producing effective but simple headgear for arming large contingents of bronze armoured warriors from the Aegean.
Of course the Major civilizations of the Late Bronze Age had their own arms manufacturing base/workshops where such equipment was knocked out on demand, the statement “No Nation was able to withstand their Arms” does raise the question – what was so special about the war-gear of these warriors that made them so feared and set them apart from other nations. Was it just their arms that gave them victory time and time again.
Attrition is the name of the game in warfare whether it be modern or ancient and if even after ‘Defeat’ by Egyptian forces there was still sufficient numbers of these warriors to have them inducted into the Armies of Egypt and garrison them across the Empire – there would have had to have been a great number of them to allow for this.
A Swiss M18 (Argentine M38) steel helmet, from the excellent everything to do with vintage Argentinian-Military site militariarg.com .(http://www.militariarg.com/steel-combat-helmets).
This excellent side profile shows off the simple lines of this exemplary design which differs only in minor detail to such designs as the Boeotian helmet, in fact if we introduce the deep type groves onto the corresponding portions of the M18 helmet we pretty much get the Boeotian helmet!
As remarkable as this seems it should strike the reader that both helmets share an almost identical design philosophy yet after more than 3000 years of separation the then modern designed German, Swiss and Czech steel helmets have so much in common with Bronze Age Aegean Greek helmets.
Swiss M18/40 (Argentine M38) steel helmets worn here by the 10th Hussars Rifle Regiment from the Pueyrredon Armoured Cavalry. Photo from a Military Yearbook from the 1960’s. From the excellent everything to do with vintage Argentinian-Military site militariarg.com (http://www.militariarg.com/steel-combat-helmets).
That such a striking and uncanny similarity can exist between two unique helmet designs separated by thousands of years of unconnected history and modern industrial development both incorporating a similar design philosophy does cause one to scratch one’s head very hard.
Note how the Chin-Strap can be worn on the chin or under it and is expressed perfectly by these two Argentinian soldiers. Argentinian troops wearing Swiss M18 (Argentine M38) steel helmets in the 1937 Parade. From the excellent – everything to do with vintage Argentinian-Military – militariarg.com (http://www.militariarg.com/steel-combat-helmets).
A selection of European WWI &WWII Steel Helmets relevant to the discussion.
A 4-point view of a Bulgarian M36B steel helmet.
Another 4-point view of a Bulgarian M36B steel helmet.
A 4-point view of a Spanish M34 steel helmet.
A3-point view of a Bulgarian Original WWII M36 Steel HELMET, B-type.
A 4-point view of a Bulgarian WWII M36 Steel HELMET, SHORT VISOR.
A BULGARIAN Original WWII M36 Steel HELMET A-type.
A 4-point view of a Portuguese M40 steel helmet.
A 5-point view of a Soviet M1936 steel Helmet.
A 4-point view of a Swiss M18/43 steel helmet.
A 2-point view of a Soviet M36 steel helmet.
A 2-point right-side and rear views of a Portuguese M16 steel helmet.
A 2-point front and left-side views of a Portuguese M16 steel helmet.
A 2-point front and rear views of a British Mk I steel helmet.
A 2-point right and left-side views of a British Mk I steel helmet.
A 2-point front and left-side views of a British Mk II steel helmet.
Still further to this, when you consider the number of countless helmet design that have existed in European military cultures for the last 2,500 years, a design that was stomping around the Late Bronze Age Aegean world from well before the fall of the Bronze Age can be considered a design trend that even today is at the forefront of ballistic helmet design leaves one perplexed and baffled. Of course the later WWI & WWII Helmets are formed from pressed steel whilst their Bronze Age Aegean counterparts may have be produced by the metal working technique known as ‘Raising’ or more likely two separate halves beaten to shape and riveted together.
The Helmets of the Sherden Elite Body Guard.
When we observe some of the Horned Helmet examples, especially the Shardana Royal Body-Guard of the Pharaoh, we see a helmet designed almost as a cap with only the minimum protection afforded to the wearer yet providing adequate coverage of the cranium whilst giving the wearer uninhibited vision and hearing whilst providing excellent aeration and ventilation for the head – ideal for fighting in sweltering desert heat.
An unusual but likely interpretation of a Shardana-‘Cap-Helmet’ with the orientation of the horns in opposite placement to those commonly envisaged.
The Igor Dzis Reconstruction.
As we have seen that the Bronze Age Helmets worn by warriors of likely Mycenaean origin some 3000 years ago has an uncanny commonality with the European steel helmets of the early to mid-20th Century!
Finally I would like to draw your attention to the figure Illustrated in Igor Dzis’s Naval Battle Frieze reconstruction from Medinet Habu.
If we look at Igor Dzis’s reconstruction of the individual warrior sporting the open-style flanged –rim horned helmet worn by the Horned-helmeted warriors of the Sea Peoples we can begin to see the correct translation from stone carving to actual illustrated form.
All the evidence points to a relatively sophisticated yet simple design which provides far more positive features than negative ones and begins to allow us to delve a little into the mind set of those Late Bronze Age Aegean Armourers who developed such styles of armour and their reasons for doing so.
The design style of these helmets and the reason they were ideal for warriors from the Aegean world to fight in hot climates I have now concluded with my assessment as self-evident.
A close-up and detailed look at the Horned-helmeted warrior from Igor Dzis’s gripping recreation of the Naval Battle scene from Medinet Habu. The striking similarity between this recreation and the WWI & WWII helmets just covered is unavoidable!
Even when we look at later Hoplite helmets Like the Attic and especially the Chalcidian examples we see that the helmets are relatively thin, light-weight and fit securely onto the head in a fashion which allows the helmet to fit comfortably yet remain securely on.
This Certainly must have held true for the horned helmets of the Sea Peoples warriors,, for fighting in a sustained battle which could rage on for hours a helmets that is not only light-weight and well-ventilated and provides just the right level of protection for the wearer in close quarter fighting is of immeasurable importance and value.
A selection of the WWI &WWII Helmets mentioned in comparison with the Dzis Helmet and Shardna ‘Cap-Helmet’ reconstructions.
Direct comparison No.1 between the Dzis Sea Peoples warrior Helmet and BULGARIAN WWII M36 HELMET, B–type.
Direct comparison No.2 between the Dzis Sea Peoples warrior Helmet and BULGARIAN WWII M36 HELMET, A-type.
Direct comparison No.3 between the Dzis Sea Peoples warrior Helmet and BULGARIAN WWII M36 HELMET, SHORT VISOR.
Direct comparison No.4 between the Dzis Sea Peoples warrior Helmet and Hungarian WWII M38 Steel Helmet (German M35 Copy).
Direct comparison No.5 between the Dzis Sea Peoples warrior Helmet and Soviet M1936 Helmet.
Direct comparison No.6 between the Dzis Sea Peoples warrior Helmet and WWI Austro-Hungarian M17 Stahlhelm Steel Helmet.
Direct comparison No.7 between the Dzis Sea Peoples warrior Helmet and the Spanish M34 steel helmet.
Direct comparison No.8 between the Dzis Sea Peoples warrior Helmet and the Swiss M18 (Argentine M38) steel helmet.
Direct comparison No.9 between the Dzis Sea Peoples warrior Helmet and the Helvetic Federation experimental spin-off of the Swiss M18 steel helmet.
Direct comparison No.10 between the Dzis Sea Peoples warrior Helmet and Argentine M38 steel helmet, shown off to good effect in this photo.
Direct comparison No.11 between the Dzis Sea Peoples warrior Helmet and another photo showing the clean lines of an Argentinian Soldiers M38 (Swiss M16).
Direct comparison No.12 between the Dzis Sea Peoples warrior Helmet and a German WWII M42 (Stahlhelm 42) Steel Helmet M1942.
Direct comparison No.13 between the Dzis Sea Peoples warrior Helmet and an Argentinian Swiss M18 steel helmet from an elevated view.
Direct comparison No.14 between the Dzis Sea Peoples warrior Helmet and a German WWII M35 steel helmet.
Direct comparison No.15 between the Dzis Sea Peoples warrior Helmet and a close-up 2-point view of a WWII Hungarian M38 Steel Helmet (German M35 Copy).
Direct comparison No.16 between the Shardana Sea Peoples warrior ‘Cap-Helmet’ and a Portuguese M16 steel helmet. Here we have to imagine the absence of the Portuguese M16’s wide rime to help us see the close comparison.
In conclusion I can only re-iterate what I have discovered in my study in this particular chapter on the Horned Helmets of the Sea Peoples warriors from Medinet Habu, that by examining in detail all possible attributes of such a design and dispelling some of its perceived limitations I hope I have been able to build a unique insight into what I consider a much overlooked and under-examined aspect of these enigmatic warriors. They continue even today to surprise and draw me into further examination of their style of warfare and the unique and sophisticated way in which they dealt with the challenges to armoured infantry warfare.
- RECONSTRUCTION & ANALYSIS OF HORNED-HELMET DESIGNS – HOW THEY WOULD HAVE BEEN WORN.
In this part of the introduction to the forth coming material on the Horned Helmets of the Sea Peoples warriors I hope, will be the most important and beneficial as it will provide reconstructions based on the Egyptian sources mentioned throughout this article.
Here I will provide an accurate reconstruction of several Horned Helmets as depicted from the Egyptian sources and will offer a detailed analysis on each of the reconstructions.
The purpose here is to give as detailed and as faithful a representation of each of the helmets chosen for reconstruction with the view of creating a body of work on the subject of Bronze Age Helmets Primarily dealing with the Sea Peoples warriors but also including the numerous and intriguing representations of similar helmet designs used by foreign mercenary troops in the employment of the Pharaoh’s Army.
Even when stone carvings of such warriors are reproduced faithfully as detailed line drawings by expert illustrators for journals and publications there is a possibility to miss or omit unintentionally certain details which might not be apparent if the source material such as a photo is of poor quality or was taken when light levels were not at their best.
This will further over-simplify the line drawings down to a version lacking the necessary detail to reconstruct correctly, and thus potentially cause us to miss vital clues in its construction.
For this I will attempt to provide the best possible source material of the highest quality as a reference point and include comparisons with detailed examples of the most accurate line drawing done for each example to further reduce the chance of inaccuracy when recreating these styles of helmets.
Taking a common sense approach to the construction methods probably used in their manufacture and using techniques I have developed for accurately re-creating the helmets I will be able to hopefully determine how they would have been correctly worn and thus how each of the helmets would have functioned in terms of offering protection and as an integral component of Body Armour.
This process is vital in hopefully giving us insight into the family of styles and finally clarifying the probable and most likely origins of these helmets and their wearers and from there build an accurate overview of Weapons and Armour.
In conclusion the reader has to understand that were there is insufficient detail to complete portions of the reconstruction from the source material I have endeavour to reproduce those absent details, presumed or otherwise, with related or known and relevant sources to the best approximation of what I am convinced is faithful to the design.