The famous Corinthian helmet was popular throughout the Ancient Greek world on account of its ease of production (from a single sheet of hammered bronze) and the fearsome visage it presented to the enemy. This October, the Italic variant, known as an Apulo-Corinthian will be offered at our auction of Antiquities in Edinburgh.
Unlike the classic variety, the Apulo-Corinthian was worn on the top of the head like a cap. This is clearly evident in the present example, where the aperture for the eyes is far too small to have been functional and was therefore purely decorative. Scholars now believe that the Greek Corinthian helmet was always worn pulled back over the head other than in the immediate melee conflict due to the extreme heat suffered by the wearer. Therefore the development of the Italic variety reflects how the original Corinthian was worn the majority of the time. The early Italic examples feature a far closer design to the Corinthian, with open eyes and a nose-guard raised in relief. As time went on, these details became mere decorations on the face as we see here. As such, the later Apulo-Corinthian still reflect the influence on their origins but more accurately demonstrate the reality of how they were worn.
A particularly striking detail on the present example are the opposing wild boars incised onto each cheek. Boars are a common depiction on Apulo-Corinthian helmets. Their meaning is not clear but it is certainly true that the animal was considered a strong and destructive creature and featured heavily in Greek mythology as a worthy opponent of heroic hunters. Artemis, the goddess of hunting, was also closely linked with the wild boar. It was seen as embodying the vengeful side of her nature, capable of unleashing sudden violent destruction on the human world.
We are delighted to offer this fine example dated to 350 - 300 B.C., previously in the Axel Guttmann Collection of Ancient Arms and Armour, at auction on Tuesday 15 October in Edinburgh.
AUCTION | African & Oceanic Art and Antiquities | Tuesday 15 October 3:00pm
VIEWING | Sunday 13th October 12pm-4pm | Monday 14th October 10am-5pm | Morning of sale
LOCATION | 33 Broughton Place, Edinburgh