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κράνος, poet. κόρυς, πήληξ). A helmet, casque. The helmet was originally made of skin or leather, whence is supposed to have arisen its appellation, κυνέη, meaning properly a helmet of dogskin, but applied to caps or helmets made of the hide of other animals, not necessarily worn as armour (ταυρείη, κτιδέη, Hom. Il. x. 258, 335; αἰγείη, Homer Od. xxiv. 230; Herod.vii. 77; galea lupina, Propert. iv. 11, 19), and even to those which were entirely of bronze or iron ( Od. xviii. 377). The leathern basis of the helmet was also very commonly strengthened and adorned by the addition of either bronze or gold ( Il. xi. 352). Helmets which had a metallic basis were in Latin properly called cassides (Tac. Germ. 6), although the terms galea and cassis are often confounded. A casque (cassis) found at Pompeii is preserved in the collection at Goodrich Court in England. The perforations for

Helmets. (From the collection at Goodrich Court.)

the lining and exterior border are visible along its edge. Among the materials used for the lining of helmets were felt (πῖλος, Il. x. 265) and sponge (Aristot. H. A. v. 16).

The helmet, especially that of skin or leather, was sometimes a mere cap conformed to the shape of the head, without either crest or any other ornament. In this state it was probably used in hunting (galea venatoria, C. Nep. Dat. iii. 2), and was called καταῖτυξ, in Latin cudo. The preceding illustration shows an example of it as worn by Diomede in a small Greek bronze, which is also in the collection at Goodrich Court. The additions by which the external appearance of the helmet was varied, and which served both for ornament and protection, were the following:


The φάλος, which was either single, double (ἀμφίφαλος, δίφαλος), or quadruple (τετράφαλος). It has been held that the φάλος was the projecting peak of the helmet. According to this view, τετράφαλος is admittedly unintelligible, and it is certain that the φάλος was a ridge of metal, afterwards called κῶνος (Buttmann), which served as a support for the crest. Instances occur where there are two or more such ridges. In the illustration below, from a gem with the head of Athené Parthenos, the φάλοι are represented by

Helmets. (From gems.)

a Sphinx and two Pegasi.


The helmet thus adorned was very commonly surmounted by the crest (crista, λόφος), which was often of horse-hair (ἵππουρις, ἱπποδάσεια, hirsuta iuba, Propert. iv. 11, 19), and made so as to look imposing and terrible. The helmet often had two or even three crests (cf. the illustration above with the head of Athené, having a helmet with a triple crest). In the Roman army of later times the crest served not only for ornament, but also to distinguish the centurions (Veget. ii. 13). The annexed illustration from

Helmet. (Baumeister.)

a part of a centurion's tomb, from Petronell, shows the transverse crest.


The two cheekpieces (bucculae, παραγναθίδες), which were usually attached to the helmet by hinges, so as to be lifted up and down. They had buttons or ties at their extremities for fastening the helmet on the head. A strap passed under the wearer's chin, in the case of the Homeric helmet ( Il. iii. 371), but apparently cheek-pieces were not movable.


The beaver, or visor, a peculiar form of which is supposed to have been the αὐλῶπις τρυφάλεια—i. e. the perforated beaver (Hom. Il. xi. 353). The gladiators wore helmets somewhat of this kind (Juv.viii. 203), and specimens of them, not unlike those worn in the Middle Ages, have been found at Pompeii. See the illustration to Gladiatores.

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