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Generous Size – our competitors more often than not, don’t give the dimensions of their helmets. Ours has an outer circumference of 75 cm, and a width of 22.5 cm (internal width of 21.3cm) the length being 25.5 cm, this means that if you take a medium hat size (57), you can wear a regular arming cap and a chain mail coif beneath this helmet, if you take a large hat size (61 or over) you will still be able to wear a thinner style arming cap with this helmet or it will make a comfortable fit worn by itself and the nasal guard won’t be skinning your nose every time you put it on. Most Norman helmets on the market are around 68cm to 70cm outer circumference (or less). As per the historical example there is a secondary steel band around the crown of the head, giving an equivalent of eight gauge protection in that area.
Initially nasal helmets were formed of four triangular pieces of metal plate riveted in a ring, secured by bands which met at the apex. This produced a good-looking helmet, but when it was concluded that all those bands and rivets gave an enemy’s blade something to catch into, it became outmoded. A smooth dome makes for a structurally stronger helmet with superior deflection. It would be wrong to say that riveted and banded helmets were quickly replaced, as they were still used well into the 14th century, but the advantages of a smooth helmet were too apparent and by the end of the Middle Ages all helmets were made without bands and protruding rivets. Personally I feel that the nasal guard was an excellent attachment to any helmet. (We should draw a distinction between the helmet and the helm. The former is, of course, a diminutive of the latter.) The nasal guard did not hinder vision, yet it guarded against having one’s nose broken, getting an arrow between the eyes and (of greatest importance) offered protection against a sword slash to the face. Nevertheless, for reasons which I can’t determine, the nasal guard was only popular up until the early Middle Ages. It is most closely identified with the Normans, Vikings and Anglo-Saxons, but it was neverthless common throughout Europe.
The steel is blackened (not simply painted). Blackened armour wasn't uncommon, although we can't quite call it "camouflage" it did eliminate the reflective glint of polished steel, and would have blended better into the gloom of night. In a set formation battle, blackened armour would have been of no added advantage but for the raider or ambusher its benefits would have been more apparent.
This helmet is heavily based upon a conical helm now on display in Prague Castle in the Czech Republic. While the skull of the original is a cone raised from a single sheet of steel, our reproduction was produced through modern welding techniques out of 14 ga. mild steel to keep costs low for the client. Like the original, the helmet features a simple brow band and a decorated nasal riveted to the front. The original was probably worn over a maille coif, as shown on the Bayeux Tapestry, providing protection to the back of the head and neck. The helmet on display is said to have belonged to Wenceslaus I (ca. 907-935) who was the duke of Bohemia from 921 until his assassination in 935, possibly by his own brother, Boleslav the Cruel*. Whether Wenceslaus I owned the helmet or not, it is certainly a fantastic example of a 10th or 11th century Conical Nasal Helmet, which was common throughout Europe at that time.
*Wenceslaus’s martyrdom gave rise to a cult due to his heroic goodness during his reign. He was elevated to Sainthood by the Catholic Church and is the patron saint of the Czech saint.
We purchased this item to bring History to life in a secondary school.
The helmet is very impressive and very substantial. It gives our students a real understanding of what it would be like to wear a helmet in battle.
We have also ordered another Spartan helmet with the clear intention of building a range of similarly impressive elements.
We would certainly recommend this item. Phil Rogers on 19th Nov 2020