Military Review

The most expensive helmets. Part Five Benti Grange Helmet

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Benti Grange Helmet - the helmet of the Anglo-Saxon warrior of the VII century AD. In 1848, Thomas Bateman found him on a Benti Grange farm in Derbyshire, excavating a mound there. Obviously, this burial was plundered in antiquity, however, and what fell into the hands of scientists, is enough to claim that it was the burial of some noble warrior ... Thomas Bateman himself was an archaeologist and an antiquary known as the "Knight of Kurgans" since he excavated them more than 500!



Of course, for a layman, the Benti Grange helmet is not a very impressive thing. A lot of rust and a little gold and silver. But it is valuable for its uniqueness, and its image is included in all historical monographs on military affairs and armor of Britain.

And now, before going further, I would like to be a little devoted to memories that are directly related to this helmet. I remember well how in childhood, after watching historical films with warriors in armor and helmets, I also wanted to make myself a helmet. It is clear that I could only make it out of paper. But how, because it does not stretch and curved surfaces can not be made of it. However, the very nature of the material suggested to me a solution: on a wide rim around my head I cross-glued four strips of thick paper and pasted triangles between them. This is how the helmet turned out, in its design very similar to the “Benti Grange helmet”, moreover, I for some reason stuck a plastic horse figure to its top. That is, it can be said that if this technical solution occurred to the 6-7 boy of years, then it should have come to adults even unhappy. And this is how this type of helmet appeared. And it was simple, cheap, convenient and ... reliable.

The most expensive helmets. Part Five Benti Grange Helmet

The Romans, of course, made the helmets much more spectacular. But from their culture in England remained mainly bridges and roads. Helmet from the “Berkasov Treasures” Vojvodina Museum, Novy Sad, Serbia.

The helmet had an iron frame inside which were installed horny plates. Inside it was covered with cloth or leather, but these materials, naturally, were not preserved in the earth. Many believe that protection from weapons if such a design provided, it was not very reliable. Therefore, they say, this helmet was richly decorated and, perhaps, had a ceremonial purpose. It is one of six famous Anglo-Saxon helmets found in Sutton Hoo, York, Wollaston, Shorvelle and Staffordshire. The combination of its structural and technical details is unique, but similar helmets are known. It is believed that such helmets were used in northern Europe from the sixth to the eleventh centuries of our era.


"Helmet of Derne", the beginning of the IV century AD (National Museum of Antiquities, Leiden)

The most catchy detail of this helmet is the boar on its top. But in this case cultural syncretism takes place; This clearly pagan symbol complements the Christian cross on the nose.


A replica of Benty Grange slam at the Weston Park Museum in Sheffield. Does not it look very original, and besides, he is just beautiful.

The base of the helmet consists of sixteen damaged fragments, and initially consisted of seven iron bands, each from 1 to 2 millimeters thick. The basis was the 65 strip cm long and 2,5 cm wide around the head. Two bands of the same width passed in front and behind: 40 cm. The length of the band from the nose to the back of the head, 4,75 cm in width in the front and 3,8 cm in the back. The four squares created by these strips were divided in turn by a narrow auxiliary stripe. Each auxiliary strip was attached to the outside of the main strip. Here, these bands had a width of 22 mm, tapering to 15 mm towards the crown. There they overlapped at an angle 50 ° under the figure fixed there. The inner part of the helmet, most likely, was originally lined with leather or cloth.

The “empty spaces” between the iron plates were covered with eight horn plates, probably curved in shape, which were cut to fit the space created by the iron base. Now there is no horn, but its mineralized remains are preserved on the iron bands. The inserts consisted of three layers of horny plates; internal, one-to-one-fit, and then two layers of horns, filling the spaces between the metal strips. All three layers were fastened with rivets: iron rivets placed inside the helmet fastened the horn and metal bands, while rivets made of silver or silver coated with ornamental heads in the shape of a double-headed ax were placed outside, at a distance of 4 cm and joined plates in one "package".

The helmet had decorations; a cross on the bow and a figurine of a wild boar made of iron on the crown. The silver cross is 3,9 cm high and 2 cm wide and consists of two parts. Around the cross in a zigzag pattern there are twenty-nine silver studs from the original forty, which were probably inserted into small holes. But the most distinctive feature of this helmet is the boar attached to its top. Holes were made in the body of the boar, probably punched, which held round silver studs with a diameter of approximately 1,5 mm. The studs, probably made flush with the surface of the body, were gold-plated and, possibly, designed for fastening gold bristles. The eyes were made of oval garnets 5 mm long, installed in gold rosettes with filigree wire pruning. The sockets had a length of 8 mm, a width of 3,5 mm and had a long shank length 8 mm, filled with beeswax. The figure was supposed to be attached to an elliptical plate with a length of 9 cm, and a maximum width of 1,9 cm, corresponding to the curvature of the helmet. The four holes on it indicate the attachment points for the legs, and three more are connected to the holes on the plate on the helmet frame, in addition to the large rivet hole slightly behind the center. So the figure was fixed on the helmet very carefully. It is clear that corrosion to a large degree of this boar "ate", but it is undoubted that it is a boar!

Now let's see what Benti Grange mound itself was. It was a mound with a diameter of about 15 m and a height of 6 m, which was surrounded by a moat about 1 m wide and 0,3 m deep, and a few dimples about 3 m and 0,2 m. Other objects commonly found in graves with a helmet, there is a sword and shield that were missing, which suggests that the grave had already been ransacked before. They also found a cup, identified as made of leather, but probably a wooden one with a diameter of about 7,6 cm, the rim of which was edged with silver and decorated with four wheel-shaped ornaments and two crosses made of fine silver, attached with pins of the same metal. There were other finds, but under the action of air, they crumbled into dust. That is, it was a burial, and not a random treasure. That's just who exactly was buried in it, we, of course, now never know.


Watercolor from Lewellin Levitt 1886 G. depicting the details of Benti Grange helmet.

The helmet was first shown at the Weston Park Museum in 1893, and in 1948, it was taken to the British Museum for study. It was possible to find out that the boar figure was not integral, but consisted of two halves. The sophisticated design of the boar Benty Grange is amazing because it combines the use of garnets, filigree, gold, silver, iron and bronze and is unique to Anglo-Saxon helmets, because the easiest thing would be to cast such a bronze figure! But for some reason, the ancient masters chose such an extremely complex technology. At first, they forged the two halves of the boar figure, moreover the hollow inside. Then they punched holes in them for fixing on the figure ... bristles, inserted eyes, filled the figure itself with wax and fixed it through the holes for the legs, first on the plate, and only then this plate was fixed on the helmet. The impression is that to think about how to ease the work, they clearly did not want that the boar, in their opinion, could only be iron, but not bronze. And why this is all so - it is still unclear! It is not known, by the way, and how much it can cost, since no one has ever tried to sell or buy it.
Author:
Articles from this series:
The most expensive helmets. Helmet Crosby Garrett. Part one
The most expensive helmets. Part two. Helmet Hallathon
The most expensive helmets. Helmet of Gisborough. Part three
The most expensive helmets. Helmet Meskalamdug, the hero of the blessed country. Part four
17 comments
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  1. heavy division
    heavy division April 14 2018 06: 16
    +2
    very effective helmet
    Roman influence is right in the foreground
    interesting colorful article, the author thanks for her and the whole cycle
    1. Cat
      Cat April 14 2018 07: 05
      +3
      Oleg Vyacheslavovich, resolve the question. In your article series, will you touch upon our archaeological finds?
      I understand that most of them "found" in the era of the Russian Empire and the USSR, so with a "price tag for them, that’s nothing," but to us they are very, very interesting!
      Sincerely, Vladislav Kotische!
      1. kalibr
        April 14 2018 07: 32
        +5
        The desire of the consumer - the law for the manufacturer! But not tomorrow. The nature of the work, at least mine, is at VO this: the material is written and gets into the drive, 5 articles are accumulated there, then they are laid out in the archive of the "site, meanwhile five more are written, at the same time they are laid out. Thus, we always have 10 articles" from and to. "You made an order today 14.02/XNUMX. Even if I sit down to write immediately and everything turns out OK, then ... you have to wait at least another week for the“ window ”to appear to insert it. But there are also obstacles ... But they are not critical.
        1. Cat
          Cat April 14 2018 07: 38
          +4
          Thanks in advance!
          According to the "consumer" appreciated! laughing
      2. Mikado
        Mikado April 14 2018 12: 09
        +3
        In your article series, will you touch upon our archaeological finds?

        by the way, I’ll join GlavPushisty Cat! drinks just .. it would be nice! And the cycle is good. Have a nice weekend for everyone! drinks
        1. Cat
          Cat April 14 2018 15: 39
          +2
          Thanks Nikolay! Mutually on weekends!
    2. Vend
      Vend April 16 2018 09: 06
      +1
      The Romans, of course, made helmets much more spectacular. But their culture in England remained mainly bridges and roads.
      Well, actually the Romans adopted the helmet, which we know as the classic Roman, among the Celts.
  2. Curious
    Curious April 14 2018 07: 17
    +3
    "The most catchy detail of this helmet is the boar on its crown. But in this case there is cultural syncretism; this clearly pagan symbol complements the Christian cross on the nose."
    The wild boar is a symbol of the ancient Germanic, including the Scandinavian god Freyr (Freyr is the god of fertility and peace, the husband of Gerda, as well as Freyja. His attributes are the wonderful ship Skidbladnir and the golden boar of Gullinborsti), which, as the soldiers believed, protected them . Helmets guarded by boars are mentioned in Beowulf, the blacksmiths making weapons believed that such a helmet would not be pierced by a sword. In this case, the power of the ancient gods was strengthened by the symbol of the new "sovereign of victory, the protector of warriors", since the strip protecting the nose had a silver cross on it.
    Perhaps this is the answer to the complex technology by which the figurine is made.
    1. kalibr
      April 14 2018 07: 33
      +3
      Thank you, Nikolai Viktorovich! Very well laid out!
      1. Cat
        Cat April 14 2018 07: 51
        +4
        Yes, Nikolai Viktorovich "pig with a cross" is cool - sincerely pleased !!! laughing
        I’m sitting in the village the Internet doesn’t load pictures, so the images appear strong, it’s a pity that it’s not evening, but at a beer in the evening ..... the effect would have been much ....... drinks good
      2. Curious
        Curious April 14 2018 13: 10
        +2
        Information from the book of A. Norman in the book "Medieval Warrior. Armament from the time of Charles the Great and the Crusades"
        I just added a little bit.
        1. Cat
          Cat April 14 2018 15: 43
          +4
          Excuse me for God's sake, to blame - the legs are crooked, I baptized you without malicious intent. To blame sad
          1. Curious
            Curious April 14 2018 19: 08
            +2
            It happens. The main thing is not to get pierced with your wife like that.
            1. Cat
              Cat April 14 2018 19: 23
              +4
              In this regard, I am well settled!
              His wife Natalya, the Head Natalya, from the office of all the aunts evicted remained with Sergey Asonyevich, but here it’s not scary !!! Although he is afraid that I will fuse him to her aunts ....) laughing
            2. Mikado
              Mikado April 14 2018 23: 34
              +2
              It happens. The main thing is not to get pierced with your wife like that.

              the biggest puncture is when a wife wants to call her best friend from your phone, dials .. and discovers that he has already been saved with you, only under the name "Nikolay Viktorovich Military Review" wink drinks so or "Ivan Palych computers" laughing
              1. Cat
                Cat April 15 2018 05: 34
                +3
                Nikolay, good morning!
                Two years ago, my good friend and convinced bachelor married his former laboratory assistant. On the first day after the wedding night, she “cleaned” all her husband’s IP devices. I was removed with the comment "Fuck him birthday gifts to give." To the reasonable question of the young spouse, what is his next birthday. He was told that they would agree with my wife what to give and how to give. And in general in his pigsty "two-story cottage" is not a normal pan !!!
                1. Mikado
                  Mikado April 15 2018 19: 15
                  +1
                  ah, the girl got well! good And immediately took him with an iron knight's glove for testicles. laughing God grant that friendship does not suffer! drinks Women in general are often jealous of friends. And about friends in skirts and say nothing! laughing