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A GREEK BRONZE SAMNO-ATTIC HELMET
A GREEK BRONZE SAMNO-ATTIC HELMET
A GREEK BRONZE SAMNO-ATTIC HELMET
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A GREEK BRONZE SAMNO-ATTIC HELMET
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THE PROPERTY OF A CALIFORNIA PRIVATE COLLECTOR
A GREEK BRONZE SAMNO-ATTIC HELMET

LATE CLASSICAL PERIOD, CIRCA 4TH CENTURY B.C.

Details
A GREEK BRONZE SAMNO-ATTIC HELMET
LATE CLASSICAL PERIOD, CIRCA 4TH CENTURY B.C.
12 3/8 in. (31.5 cm.) high
Provenance
Axel Guttmann (1944-2001), Berlin.
The Axel Guttmann Collection of Ancient Arms and Armour, Part 2, Christie's, London, 28 April 2004, lot 101.
Literature
R. Hixenbaugh, Ancient Greek Helmets: A Complete Guide and Catalog, New York, 2019, p. 491, no. X356.

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Hannah Fox Solomon
Hannah Fox Solomon Vice President, Head of Sale, Specialist

Lot Essay


The Samno-Attic type dates to the 5th-3rd century B.C. and developed from the Chalcidian. A native product of the South Italian colonies, this differs from its mainland Greek counterpart by favoring a spherical rather than peaked dome and removing the nose guard entirely. The cheek pieces are now attached by hinges instead of being constructed from a single sheet and the closely-fitting neck guard projects outward. It adheres to the general evolution of the period towards a lighter helmet with greater functionality, so features like wider openings for the face and ears are dominant to promote greater ability to hear and see and to be more comfortable for the warrior.

These helmets also embraced decorative flares and embellishments, which differed from their mainland counterparts. As Hixenbaugh explains, “Throughout history, especially during the colonization of the New World, we find instances of the same trend. Colonial workshops often produced streamlined products of lesser quality but they sometimes were freed from the constraints of the Old World traditions and produced novel and often superior products as well” (op. cit. pp. 214-215). This superior, more ornate example is visible here in the raised M-shaped face-guard and molded brow, and peaked crown, atop which 3 tall tubular plume-holders emerge. Feathers were popular among the Italic people and were associated with Ares, the god of War, likely used to intimidate the enemy. Both Livy and Polybius make reference to aigrettes (horsehair crests and/or feathers) and their ability to create fear in battle (pp. 218-221 in Merrony, Mougins Museum of Classical Art). This type of helmet is often worn by Italic warriors as seen on South Italian vases (see a Campanian hydria at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, no. 92 in Mayo, The Art of South Italy: Vases from Magna Graecia).

For a similar helmet in the Mougins Museum, with the plume holders and peaked brow but no M-shaped molding, see no. 108 in Merrony, op. cit.

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