Description of the Product

This kind of legendary and classical medieval helm is most commonly called a great helm but sometimes also a barrel helm, a pot helm and a bucket helm, which is no surprise when you look at the barrel-shape of the helm. This helmet is made after a statue in the church of Santa Maria la Real in Olite, Spain. The helmet is worn by a knight above the main entrance to the church but these helmets can be seen in the illustrated manuscripts of the time such as the Codex Manesse, the Maziejowsky bible and the Cantigas de Santa Maria. Some small items showing these helmets and few originals have also been found and have remained safe till our times.

The earliest forms of the great helms from the 12th century onwards had by the 13th century proved to be a winning design: the flat tops of the late 12th century helms combined with the reintroduction of the facemask were fairly simple to manufacture and gave excellent protection. During the early 13th century those facial protections were extended, so that eventually the extra plates covered the back of the neck, eventually reaching the shoulders and thus enveloping the entire head. The great helm was commonly worn over a mail coif and the larger models sometimes even over a skull cap, which gave its wearer a level of protection that had previously been unimaginable. Of course the downside of added protection was that the visibility and ease of breathing were substantially worse than with the open helmets of old. The solid surface was punctured only by the breaths and narrow eye slits.

As this was a time of fervent crusading, many of these helms had as an extra protection (both physical and spiritual) a cross-shaped reinforcement on the face. Despite its legendary aesthetics and symbolism, the great crusader helm was not used on the battlefield for very long, as by 1350 it was slowly replaced by the bascinet. The great helm did stay in use, however, in the ever more popular sport of the joust where maximum protection was highly regarded. The great helm has remained as the symbol of a medieval knight till our times and is still one of the best recognized medieval symbols.

Made of 1.6 mm steel. Steel thickness may vary due to the handcrafted methods used in manufacturing. Reinforcing cross is made of brass. The helm is fitted with a cotton liner and some light padding for comfort. Leather chin strap included. Made by Marshall Historical.

Height 28 cm
circumference at the bottom 71 cm
Weight 3.2 kg.

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