The most expensive helmets. Part ten. Tophelhelm Helmets

Not so long ago, one of the visitors to the VO website asked me a question, what armor was preserved from the 12th century, and was it really stainless steel? Amazing isn't it? Why is it amazing? Yes, simply because the warriors did not wear any armor in XII, that is, protective equipment made of solid metal plates, there were only chain mail and here they, although in small numbers, have reached our time, but they are very, very rusty. For example, chain mail from burial in Germundby or Gnezdovsky barrows, or rather what is left of them. Metal products forged in the form of plates are helmets. But if we turn to the archaeological finds of these helmets, we will see how badly they have suffered from corrosion over the past centuries. However, helmets XIII - XIV centuries. Found quite a lot and all of them, of course, very valuable (and therefore expensive!), Although neither gold nor precious stones are not on them.

The most expensive helmets. Part ten. Tophelhelm Helmets

David defeats the Philistines. An illustration from the Maciewski Bible, in which the horse-like helmets of riders with reinforcing lining in the shape of a cross are clearly visible, mid-XIII century. (Pierpont Morgan Library)

It will be about the so-called tophelhelm helmet (the slang name for tophelm) - “pot helmet”, eng. Great Helm - “Grand Helmet” - that is, a purely knight's helmet for combat riding, appeared around the end of the XII century. As a rule, this helmet was assembled from several, usually five, metal plates that were joined using riveting.

Aquamanila - a vessel for water in the form of a rider in topfhelm helmet, 1250, Trondheim. (Danish National Museum of Military stories, Copenhagen)

"Tophelm" mid-XIV century. (German National Museum, Nuremberg)

The genesis of this helmet is very interesting and deserves to be told about it in more detail. To begin with, during the time of Charlemagne and later all of Europe, including the legendary Vikings, she covered her head with segmented helmets, either spheroconical or dome-shaped, which is once more reminiscent of "embroidered Bayeux canvas". But this helmet, even with a plaque in the form of a metal plate, gave poor protection for the face. And then the crusades began, the European knights had to fight with the horse archers of the Muslims and wounds in the face became commonplace. As a result, already in 1100, in Germany, and later in France, helmets with masks with eye slits and breathing holes appear. That is, a new detail was added to the old helmets, no more.

Lunet gives Iwain a magic ring. The painting on the wall in the castle Rodeneg. "Ivane, or the Knight with the Lion" Chrétien de Troy, a knightly romance, 1170 g. At the Knight is a typical "helmet pan with a mask."

However, about 1200 of the year, in addition to conical helmets, another, completely new and previously unknown type of helmet appears - the “helmet pan” or “helmet-tablet”. The benefit of his appearance was considerable. First of all, it was much more technological than segment helmets, since it was assembled from just two parts. Secondly, he didn’t sit too tightly on his head and although the blows from him now didn’t slide off, at the same time they didn’t reach the goal, because they fell on the L-shaped edge of the “pot” crown, which was harder to cut through than a smooth plate 1,5 mm thick. Now it was necessary only to strengthen the protective properties of this helmet with the help of a face mask, which was already done in the same 1200 year. Moreover, at the same time, helmet-mounted ornaments appeared in the form of flags attached to them, raised up to the palms and eagles.

Images of warriors in closed helmets from Speculum Virginum (Jungfrauenspiegel “The Mirror of Virgins”) - a didactic treatise of the 12th century about female monastic life. The original text dates from the mid-twelfth century and may have been compiled in Augustus Abbey Andernach, founded by Richard, the abbot of Springsbach, for his sister in 1128 year.

The second reason for the appearance of facial masks was a new tactic with a spear - kushirovanie, in which he was no longer held in his hands, but clamped under his arm. Now it was necessary only to rivet the helmet to the helmet to get a helmet completely closed on all sides, which was done by 1214, when the knights of England and Germany in such modern helmets first appeared at the Battle of Buvin. With the addition of the back piece, we see the already fully formed appearance of the early tophelm. But the images of such helmets are known before, namely from the end of the XII century, in particular, in miniatures from Aeneid around 1200, on figures from the altar in the cathedral in Aachen, etc.

Almost all the helmets, which are described here, can be seen in the Soviet movie 1982, "The Ballad of the Valiant Knight Ivanhoe."

The next step in the development of this helmet was the appearance on its face of a sharp longitudinal rib, so that it now acquired the shape of an acute angle. This edge caused the tip of the spear to slide sideways, so that he did not have time to transfer all the energy of a spear strike to the head, covered with such a helmet. The rib was additionally reinforced with a cross-shaped cross in the shape of a cross, the vertical rays of which went from the forehead to the chin, and the horizontal ones were located in the same place as the viewing slots and did not allow the tip of the spear to slip into them. The ends of the rays of the cross were made to form a trefoil or a lily flower. Such helmets are well known from the miniatures from the Bible of Macius (mid-XIII century) and many other images of this time.

It was from such forged plates that the “pot helmet” consisted.

"Helmet from Dargen". Perhaps the most famous among all the “big helmets” that have survived to our day and the most popular in modern popular culture. It was found in the ruins of the Schlossberg castle, not far from the German village of Dargen in Pomerania, after which it received its name. It refers to the second half of the XIII century. In medieval miniatures, similar helmets are found from 1250 to 1350 years. Average weight about 2,25 kg. (German Historical Museum, Berlin).

In the heat over the helmet could wear just such a hat! Illustration from the book of Emmanuel Viollet-le-Duk.

Surprisingly, already in 1220, tophelm helmets appeared in England with a visor reclining vertically, and in 1240 the same helmets in France and Germany were equipped with a door visor, on the hinge on the left side and a “lock” on the right. It is a pity that no one showed such helmets in the movies. That would be very funny! Well, since 1250, classic tophelm has come into vogue in the form of a slightly widening cylinder, and with the front part lowered around the neck. The top was usually flat. Breathing holes were evenly spaced on both sides. To protect against rust helmets painted.

Helmet with visor-door. Illustration from the book of Emmanuel Viollet-le-Duk.

Visor helmets. Illustration from the book of Emmanuel Viollet-le-Duk.

By 1290, the shape of the grand slam has changed. Now its upper part has acquired a conical shape, and the top plate began to make a convex. The design of such a helmet gave protection to the head from the front, from the sides and from the rear, the viewing slits were 9-12 mm wide, due to which at a close distance the view from it was limited. The vents for ventilation that were below the viewing slots could have a different shape. Sometimes they were punched in such a way that patterns or images were obtained (as was done, for example, on the helmet of Edward of Wales - the “Black Prince”, where these holes were made in the form of a crown), but more often simply in a checkerboard pattern. In the late version of this helmet, a kübelhelme, these ventilation holes began to be located exclusively on the right side already in the XIV century, in order not to weaken the metal on the left side, which was most susceptible to the blows of enemy copies.

Topfhelm and his device. Illustration from the book of Emmanuel Viollet-le-Duk.

Then, by the beginning of the XIV century, the form of the “grand slam” changed again. He became even more, as he began to wear on top of another, small helmet - servilera, and then the helmet bascinet. The fact is that it was very difficult for a long time to be in a fully closed helmet and the knights found a way out: hemispherical servilera and a conical bascinet began to be put on “just in case,” and then Tophelm was placed on their head just before the attack. Such pot helmets of the second half of the XIV century are called kübelhelma.

The most common helmets of the XIV century. Fig. Graham Turner.

From the beginning of the 14th century, the helmet’s crown is made conical, often forged, and attached to the lower base, assembled from a pair of plates. At the same time, the pre-face plate and the backrush are now lowered in front and behind in the form of a wedge on the chest and back. On it, at the very bottom, there are cross-shaped holes for the buttons at the end of the chain, the second end of which is attached to the chest. About chains at one time on VO was the material "Armor ... and chains" (, so it makes no sense to repeat in this case, but it should be emphasized that undoubtedly, the purpose of these chains was not only decorative.

Reconstructor in topfhelm helmet. (Danish National Museum of Military History, Copenhagen)

For example, it is believed that, for example, they did not allow the helmet to be torn from the head of the owner in a hand-to-hand grip, although for me, rather, on the contrary, they helped to do it. Although, yes, indeed, images of a similar capture by one knight behind the helmet of another, in order to disrupt or displace him on the head to the side in order to deprive his owner of the review, were repeatedly depicted in scenes of medieval battles, including the famous Manesky Code.

Ivanhoe from the 1982 film of the year in a typical helmet from the book of Violle le Duc. I wonder what the point was in this visor, which covered only ... mouth ?!

As always, they were ... well, let's say this: “strange people”, who ordered visors to masters with small visors. By the way, such a helmet with a visor that covered only the mouth is worn by Ivanhoe in the Soviet 1982 film of the year, “The Ballad of the Gallant Knight Ivanhoe” - a film that seemed to show all types of helmets specifically mentioned in this article, so it makes sense right after her read this evening to review it ...

Warriors wearing a variety of helmets from the Kholkhem Bible, (ca. 1320 - 1330). (British Library, London)

They finally abandoned this helmet at the turn of the 14th - 15th centuries, when the outcome of the war was decided not only by field battle and the battle of mounted cavalrymen, but during long military campaigns, where the rider was required high mobility and the ability to fight both on horseback and on foot . The main opponent of the heavily armed cavalry now increasingly became the infantry, archers and crossbowmen, and the knights themselves more and more often dismounted to fight with the infantry. Under these conditions, the movzel with movable visor turned out to be more convenient, as they allowed to easily view the battlefield, opening and closing the visor, without letting weapons from the hands and without resorting to the help of a squire.

Seal of Sir Thomas Beauchamp, Earl of Warwick, 1344 g. Helmet-head - swan's head.

And here is another “swan helmet”, indicating the popularity of this particular heraldic figure. Miniature from the novel about Alexander (1338-1344) (Bodleian Library of the University of Oxford)

In such a helmet in the movie about Ivanhoe rode Baron Reginald Fron de Beuf ...

And this is downright an illustration to one of the novels of the series “Damned Kings”.

So, the “big helmet” exhausted its capabilities and completed its evolution as a means of defense on the battlefield, but was also used in tournaments, and where in the 16th century it was replaced by the so-called “toad helmet” or “toad head” helmet, which became the final result the result of its development.

"Grand Slam" of the XIV century, used in tournaments. Illustration from the book of Emmanuel Viollet-le-Duk.

"The sugar head helmet" is a name popular among reenactors, but not official. In fact, the same topfhelm, but with a pointed tip. Illustration from the book of Emmanuel Viollet-le-Duk.

And its internal structure ...

And this is a depiction of similar helmets, and in large numbers, in miniature from “The Chronicles of Colmariens”, 1298, (British Library, London).

The history of the “grand slam” is inextricably linked with medieval heraldry. First, namely in the first half of the XIV century, these helmets, along with various helmet decorations, were introduced into the knightly coat of arms in Germany, and then the fashion to include these helmets in their coat of arms has already spread throughout Europe.

Helmet with a crown. Illustration from the book of Emmanuel Viollet-le-Duk.

When topfhelm itself was already out of use, they began to use the color differentiation of these helmets as another means of recognition. Thus, the gilding of individual parts indicated the high nobility rank and nobility of the owner of this coat of arms, but if the helmet was gilded entirely, then this meant its belonging to the royal family. The helmet in the upper part of the shield had many royal, earl and baronial coats of arms, and as a rule they were crowned with a crown of the appropriate shape, had a helmet scent on it and were decorated with feathers and a coat of arms.

Page of Zurich coat of arms, 1340 year. (Zurich Library, Switzerland)

Among the most famous helmets of this type are the “helmet from Bolzano”, found in the tower of the city of Bolzano in Italy. Also known as “the helmet from the city of Bozen” (the name of the city of Bolzano in German). Dated by the beginning of the XIV century. Weight - 2,5 kg. (Castle of St. Angel, Rome). Then - a helmet from the castle of Aranas, Sweden. Dated by the beginning of the XIV century. The weight of the helmet is about 2,34 - 2,5 kg. (State Historical Museum, Stockholm), and, of course, the helmet from the collection of the Tower in London. Dated to the second half of the XIV century. Approximate weight - 2,63 kg. (Royal Arsenal, Leeds). All of them are of great value and therefore, naturally, very expensive.

Also a very famous helmet of Albert von Pranka of the XIV century. (Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna)

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  1. +3
    11 June 2018 06: 29
    Thank you for the article. But it’s interesting, on some helmets in the front part there are holes, as I understand, ventilation holes, judging by the size, are quite large, so that the spear point could enter into them, even sliding off, would the helmet not break off at the same time?
    1. Cat
      11 June 2018 07: 30
      Quote: svp67
      But it’s interesting, on some helmets in the front part there are holes, as I understand, ventilation holes, judging by the size, are quite large, so that the spear point could enter into them, even sliding off, would the helmet not break off at the same time?

      Naturally, when the spear got into the air vents with a tip, it shook it at times! So by the fourteenth century, a whole system was developed for attaching "big helmets" to armor: screws, belts, hooks, etc. In general, the armourers and armored men of the Middle Ages for almost five centuries played the game of “armor and shell”, tfu “spears and armor”! So on the whole, a helmet is generally perfect without any “holes”, the only trouble is how to look and breathe in it!
      For example, tournament "toad heads" allowed the owner to stand out the enemy only in an equestrian fight on the lists! The owner of the helmet couldn’t take it off or put it on his own, since the latter was tightly bolted. It should be remembered that the tournament spears were "stupid." A kind of humanization of the Middle Ages. Although knights died in tournaments in batches! Including monarchs, if one of them doesn’t fail me, my father is Louis XIII’s dad, and it’s just the one whom A. Dumas sang in the Three Musketeers.
      Sincerely, Kitty!
      P.S. I am attentive to your words, the article is excellent!
      1. +4
        11 June 2018 08: 09
        if one of them doesn’t fail me, my father is Louis XIII’s father, yes just the one whom A. Dumas sang in the Three Musketeers.
        Dear Vladislav. Pope Louis XIII was Henry IV (the famous King Henry from the song), and Henry II died in the tournament.
        1. +5
          11 June 2018 10: 38
          Henry IV (the famous King Henry from the song)

          Who loved wine to hell, but was sober at times? wink a good example of domestic cinema, how to put on display the entire history of the Patriotic War of 1812 during the sounding of one song. good
      2. Cat
        11 June 2018 08: 11
        I’ll supplement my commentary a bit with pictures from a site with the saying name “”!

        On the helmet you can see a characteristic breathing hole almost on the back of the head!

        In the second illustration, the artist-rector plausibly drew a system of fastenings of the head - helmet - armor!
        1. +3
          11 June 2018 08: 29
          Vlad! One comment - one illustration! Otherwise, it rarely works. Checked by Mikado and WikNick.
        2. +4
          11 June 2018 13: 48
          Vlad! One comment - one illustration! Otherwise, it rarely works. Checked by Mikado and WikNick.

          Anton is right! I, Vladislav, once answered you about the surviving ships of the tsarist construction. I inserted two photos. Both were read on my home computer. At work - only one! request apparently, the difference in software, and site settings. what It’s easier to make several answers, one photo each, and they will line up in a line. Yes Yes, we all will appreciate it! soldier
      3. +1
        11 June 2018 11: 36
        Quote: Kotischa
        if my memory doesn’t fail me one of them is the father of Louis XIII

        Sums up. Louis XIII’s dad, Henry IV, died of a killer’s dagger. And Henry II was killed half a century earlier in the tournament, and this is described by Dumas in the book “Two Dianes”
  2. +3
    11 June 2018 06: 42
    "... what's the point in this visor, which covered only ... his mouth?"
    Perhaps these helmets appeared during the Crusades, as a kind of "tropical form". You must admit that its ergonomics are more suitable for the conditions of a hot climate and mobile war than for a helmet with a full visor.
    1. Cat
      11 June 2018 07: 37
      Good morning Anton!
      If you rephrase the hackneyed phrase "air is life, but the dead do not need it." So the gunners were perverted, and taking into account the cost of such armor, there is a desire to exclaim "any whim for your money!"
      soldier - a budget option for VO!
      Good day to all!
      1. +3
        11 June 2018 08: 11
        Good morning Vlad!
        "If you rephrase a hackneyed phrase ..."
        "Our new antiprespirant deodorant is easily absorbed into the epithelium, reaching the capillaries it enters the bloodstream, causing anaphylactic shock with a fatal outcome. The dead do not sweat!"
  3. +5
    11 June 2018 08: 37
    And for some reason I didn’t remember “Aivengo”, but “Black Arrow”. There in tophelme Bennett Hatch (Masulis) is fighting
    1. +1
      11 June 2018 08: 51
      For the "War of the Roses" - a clear anochronism, however, like plate armor. Although, I don’t remember the content, it is possible that the hero’s financial situation did not favor something more respectable. Incidentally, I remember the film as an episode with a full prodigy, one and the characters have a helmet with a glass half mask! Even in childhood, I was perplexed about this.
  4. +1
    11 June 2018 08: 58
    And what are these Chronicles Narnia Colmarians? The knights sit in Tatar saddles, the saddles themselves are very low, and one of the knights also shoots with a bow, like a real Dzhigit
    1. +6
      11 June 2018 10: 48
      and one of the knights also shoots from a bow, like a real Dzhigit

      Igor, my comment is not related to helmets and knights, but here is the most curious example of a refueling horse rig that I saw:

      Pay attention to 0.32 - a real horseman! good laughing
  5. +4
    11 June 2018 09: 12

    (Stunt Nikolai Vashchilin (understudy of Sir Guy Gisborne) in the shooting of the Knights tournament in “Arrows of Robin Hood. Sigulda. 1975)
    in-guda.html ©
  6. +1
    11 June 2018 09: 38
    I like Topfhelm
    I even do not know why)
    1. +5
      11 June 2018 14: 24
      I would venture to suggest - because it is the "canonical knight's helmet" from the old films on which we all grew up. what Thoughts of childhood are fundamental to human thinking for the rest of my life, in my deep conviction! hi drinks
      1. +1
        11 June 2018 20: 56
        Yes, you are probably right hi
  7. The comment was deleted.
  8. -1
    3 September 2018 15: 09
    Interesting article.

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