90 Miles From Tyranny : 10th Century Viking Helmet - The Only Known Existing Viking Helmet In Existence

Monday, September 15, 2014

10th Century Viking Helmet - The Only Known Existing Viking Helmet In Existence

[From Wikipedia] Today there is only one known example of a complete Viking helmet in existence.[23] This Viking helmet was excavated on a farm called Gjermundbu in Ringerike in central Norway. Gjermundbu is located in Haugsbygda, a village in northeast ofHønefoss, in BuskerudNorway. The helmet dates to the 10th century. This helmet was made of iron and was in the shape of a rounded or peaked cap made from four plates after the spangenhelm pattern. This helmet has a rounded cap and has a "spectacle" guard around the eyes and nose which formed a sort of mask, in addition to a possible mail aventail. The eye guard in particular suggests a close affinity with the earlier Vendel period helmets. From runestones and other illustrations, it is known that the Vikings also wore simpler helmets, often peaked caps with a simple noseguard.[24]
Viking helmets have been excavated from only three sites: Gjermundbu in Norway, Tjele Municipality in Denmark and Lokrume parish on GotlandSweden.[citation needed] The one from Tjele consists of nothing more than rusted remains of a helmet similar to the Gjermundbu helmet, the same goes for the one from Gotland.[citation needed] It is possible that many of the Viking helmets were made from hardened leather and ironstrips, since many Icelandic stories and Scandinavian picture stones tell and show warriors with helmets.[citation needed] It is also possible that helmets were inherited, instead of buried with the deceased owner, and went from father to son, and therefore stayed in a family for generations before eventually being turned into scrap metal or something else, like an axe.[citation needed] The Bayeux tapestry and its depiction of the Norman conquest of England in 1066 also depicts people scavenging armor and weapons from the dead. It is therefore likely that the chieftain or king that went into war, supplied his housecarls and warriors with war gear (unless already being a land owning free man that could supply his own war gear), and when they died, their war gear was retrieved.[citation needed]
There is no evidence that Vikings used horned helmets in battle, although it is possible that they were used in a ritual fashion.[25] The horned and winged helmets associated with the Vikings in popular mythology were the invention of 19th-century Romanticism.[7]

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