italian vase

Samno-Attic Bronze Helmet, Late 5th-Early 4th Century BC

This type of helmet is so-called because of its close association with the Samnite warriors of central and southern Italy, and its derivation from the Greek Attic and Chalcidian type helmets. The form of any helmet was first and foremost functional, and its evolution was entirely dependent on the type of warfare fought and the cultural and artistic traditions of those who utilized it. Greek and Italic helmets of the fifth and fourth centuries BC, such as this example, evolved with new features to adapt to changing tactics in warfare, with the increasing importance of lighter equipment and tactical flexibility. This prompted the development of open-faced helmets, which gave the soldier greater visibility and ventilation with the inclusion of apertures for the ears. The Samno-Attic helmet was essentially a further development of the Chalcidian/Attic type that saw the disappearance of the nasal guard and a more spherical dome.

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Terracotta volute-krater with the Judgment of Paris (left) and naiskos with a statue of the deceased woman (right)

Attributed to the Baltimore Painter

Greek (Apulian), Late Classical Period, c. 330-310 B.C.

Metropolitan Museum of Art