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Home > Auctions > 23rd May 2023 > Greek Bronze Illyrian Helmet

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LOT 0253

GBP (£) 15,000 - 20,000
EUR (€) 17,280 - 23,040
USD ($) 18,580 - 24,770

£15,000 (EUR 17,279; USD 18,576) (+bp*)

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12 1/4 in. (2.7 kg total, 31 cm high including stand).

Of domed Illyrian typology IIIA, variant 3, raised from a single sheet with protective cheek-pieces, two parallel corrugated raised ridges to the upper face, running over the crown from front to back, square-cut frontal opening with smooth edges, short curved rear flange developing from behind towards the forward curving cheek-protectors, the latter having two holes at the extremities for the fastening of a chin-strap; button pin at the centre of the back for attachment of a crest, pierced hole in the front for the corresponding pin.

Ex Mr G. Grimm collection.
Acquired from a French auction house.
Ex important London gallery.
The Kusmirek Collection, UK.

Accompanied by an academic report by Dr Raffaele D'Amato
This lot has been checked against the Interpol Database of stolen works of art and is accompanied by search certificate number no.10194-167379.

See Pflug, H., 'Illirysche Helme' in Antike Helme, RGZM Monographien 14, Mainz, 1988, pp.43-64; Connolly, P., Greece and Rome at war, London, 1981; for an example of similar helmet with golden mask, from the grave 115 in Sindos, today in the archaeological Museum of Thessaloniki, see Pflug, 1988, p.60; an example with similar elements from the Axel Guttman collection (Christie's, 2004, p.80) showing the same long cheekpieces and short rear flange.

This helmet was probably fitted with a high crest, attached with animal glue and composed of horsehair. It was positioned inside a holder worn between the raised ridges and fastened to the front and back pins, one of them still visible. The recent finds of Illyrian helmets without reinforced edges have suggested that the variants of this typology of helmet could have evolved as their own group, during the late period of its employment (from mid 6th to 4th century B.C.). The earlier specimens have been found in Olympia and Trebeniste (North Macedonia), although the neck protection of these helmets was still in the style of archaic Illyrian types. The helmets from Sindos introduced the characteristics of such late evolution. The diffusion of this typology shows that it was preferred by Macedonian warriors, by the Illyrian fighters and by the Greeks in Sicily and Peloponnesos, considering that the finds are concentrated in the corresponding areas.