Boar's tusk helmet

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Mycenaean Greek boar's tusk helmet from Mycenae (14th century BC) shown at the National Archaeological Museum in Athens.

The boar's tusk helmet is a type of military headwear used in Mycenaean Greece.[1][2] The helmet was made of ivory from a boar's tusks and attached in rows onto a leather base padded with felt.

Homeric epic[change | change source]

A description of a boar's tusk helmet appears in the tenth book of Homer's Iliad where Odysseus is armed for a night-raid against the Trojans.

Meriones gave Odysseus a bow, a quiver and a sword, and put a cleverly made leather helmet on his head. On the inside there was a strong lining on interwoven straps, onto which a felt cap had been sewn in. The outside was cleverly adorned all around with rows of white tusks from a shiny-toothed boar, the tusks running in alternate directions in each row.

Μηριόνης δ' Ὀδυσῆϊ δίδου βιὸν ἠδὲ φαρέτρην
καὶ ξίφος, ἀμφὶ δέ οἱ κυνέην κεφαλῆφιν ἔθηκε
ῥινοῦ ποιητήν: πολέσιν δ' ἔντοσθεν ἱμᾶσιν
ἐντέτατο στερεῶς: ἔκτοσθε δὲ λευκοὶ ὀδόντες
ἀργιόδοντος ὑὸς θαμέες ἔχον ἔνθα καὶ ἔνθα

εὖ καὶ ἐπισταμένως: μέσσῃ δ' ἐνὶ πῖλος ἀρήρει.

— Homer, Iliad 10.260–5

The number of ivory plates needed to make a helmet ranges from 40 to 140.[3] Also, around forty to fifty boars would have to be killed to make just one helmet.[4]

Gallery[change | change source]

References[change | change source]

Citations[change | change source]

Sources[change | change source]

  • Everson, Tim (2004). Warfare in Ancient Greece: Arms and Armour from the Heroes of Homer to Alexander the Great. Brimscombe Port: The History Press. ISBN 9780752495064.
  • Kilian-Dirlmeier, Imma, ed. (1997). Das mittelbronzezeitliche Schachtgrab von Αegina. Mainz: Philipp von Zabern. ISBN 9783805319928.
  • Komita, Nobuo (1982). "The Grave Circles at Mycenae and the Early Indo-Europeans" (pdf). Research Reports of Ikutoku Technical University (A-7): 59–70.
  • Rutter, Jeremy B. (1996). "Prehistoric Archaeology of the Aegean". Trustees of Dartmouth College and the Foundation of the Hellenic World. Archived from the original on 1 January 2009. Retrieved 7 May 2021.

Further reading[change | change source]