Helmet (Spangenhelm)

Byzantine or Germanic

On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 373

This helmet comes from a small group of closely related Spangenhelme (strap helmets). The sites where they have been found are widely scattered, ranging from Sweden to Germany, the Balkans and Libya. The Metropolitan Museum’s helmet was found in the Saône River near Trévoux, France. The quality of the helmets and their diverse find sites suggest that they were made as diplomatic gifts to foreign rulers, perhaps sent from the Byzantine court or from the Ostrogothic kingdom in Italy.

All the helmets originally had metal cheek pieces, a mail neck defense, and often an integral nasal. As on this helmet, the decoration typically consists of patterns punched into the radiating straps and birds amid an undulating grapevine embossed on the brow band. Some examples include crosses and other Christian symbols.

Helmet (<i>Spangenhelm</i>), Steel, copper alloy, gold, Byzantine or Germanic

Due to rights restrictions, this image cannot be enlarged, viewed at full screen, or downloaded.

Open Access

As part of the Met's Open Access policy, you can freely copy, modify and distribute this image, even for commercial purposes.


Public domain data for this object can also be accessed using the Met's Open Access API.