A domed helmet with a rectangular opening for the face, with two elongated, somewhat triangular parts protecting the cheeks, vertical at the front and curved behind to follow the angle of the jaw. A horizontal neck guard is at the back.
On top of the crown a track consisting of two raised ridges runs from front to back, intended for the crest. The helmet was pierced at the front and the back for attachment of this crest.
The opening for the face and the edges of the cheek pieces are bordered by a thin row of dots between narrow bands.
This type of helmet is usually indicated as Illyrian, because of many early finds of helmets of this shape in Illyria, a region on the eastern coast of the Adriatic Sea, in the western part of the Balkan Peninsula. However, the earliest helmets of this type were made in Greece, in the north-western Peloponnesos.
There were three main phases of development of the helmet. The early form (found mainly on the Peloponnesos and dating to the late 8th - late 7th century B.C.) had a low crown and no neck guard. The middle form (late 7th - middle 6th century B.C.) had triangular cheek pieces, an elongated back guard, and a decorative border alongside the helmet edge. The late form (second half of the 6th - 4th century B.C.) had elongated cheek pieces and a decoration running along the edge. By the middle of the 4th century Illyrian helmets were almost out of fashion.
A list of known Illyrian helmets, with division into types, was published by Biba Teržan; for this list, with additional literature, see Vasić (2010), p. 42-47. For an overview of the various shapes and their development in time see also Blečić Kavur, p. 33, figure 2.
Paul M. Bardunias - Fred Eugene Ray, Jr., Hoplites at War. A Comprehensive Analysis of Heavy Infantry Combat in the Greek World, 750–100 BCE (Jefferson, North Carolina, McFarland & Company, 2016), especially p. 41-42;
Martina Blečić Kavur, “Illyrian Helmets from Montenegro”, Nova antička Duklja, VIII (Montenegro, 2017), p. 31-57 (with further literature on p. 56-57);
Hermann Pflug, "Illyrische Helme" in Angelo Bottini et al. (Hrsg.), Antike Helme. Sammlung Lipperheide und andere Bestände des Antikenmuseums Berlin (Monographien Römisch-Germanisches Zentralmuseum, Forschungsinstitut für Vor- und Frühgeschichte, vol. 14) (Mainz, Verlag des Römisch-Germanischen Zentralmuseums, 1988), p. 42–64;
Anthony M. Snodgrass, Arms and Armor of the Greeks (Ancient Studies - Military History) (Baltimore, Md., Johns Hopkins University Press, 1967);
Anthony M. Snodgrass, Early Greek Armour and Weapons. From the End of the Bronze Age to 600 B.C. (Edinburgh, Edinburgh University Press, 1964);
Michail Yu. Treister, The Role of Metals in Ancient Greek History (Mnemosyne, Bibliotheca Classica Batava, Supplementum, volume 156) (Leiden, New York, Köln, E.J. Brill, 1996), especially p. 60-62, 65-66 and figs. 14-15;
Rastko Vasić, “Reflecting on Illyrian Helmets”, CTAPͶHAP 60 (2010), p. 37-49.
Archaic Greek, early 6th century B.C.
Height circa 28 cm maximum, width 19 cm maximum, depth 23 cm maximum.
Belgian private collection R.D., acquired in the 1990s; thereafter with Arteas Ltd., London.
No restoration, only some slight reinforcements on the inside; with a beautiful green to red-brown patina.