Italy: The splendid Bronze and Ivory Helmet of Metaponto is the old 6th Century BC Helmet, with the stoic and regal ram symbolizing a fierce call to arms. The artefact was birthed in the Greek colony of Metaponto, Matera, Basilicata and is placed at the St. Louis Museum of Art, which is located in the heart of Forest Park.

According to archaeological studies, the Helmet of Metaponto was uncovered from a tomb in 1942 during excavations in the Necropolis of Crucinia and was once part of a complete suit of armour.


The exquisite piece, Helmet of Metaponto, that clearly holds the most artistic value of the remnants found now resides in America at the Saint Louis Art Museum in Missouri.

Today, a few fragments of this decorum of courage are preserved at the Archaeological Museum of Metaponto in South Italy, with the rest having disappeared into the international antique market. The Necropolis, where the large tomb was found, consists of a total of 600 burials, with some belonging to the aristocratic elite, based on the grand sizes, and was located in the Crucinia district along a road leading out of town.

According to archaeologist Antonio de Siena, the discovered helmet and armour could be that of the tomb of the tire Archelaus, promoter of the first important urban structure of Metaponto. He was an establisher of an absolutist regime that caused the conspiracy of his murder by the two lovers Antileon and Ipparino.

The helmet, given its size and design, was to serve ceremonial purposes, not for real military protective function. It was constructed of a single bronze foil, making it extremely light and unsuitable for the battlefield.

The decoration that characterizes parts of the surface has been obtained using a series of metalworking techniques such as overhang, punching, tracing, and engraving. Traces of ancient restoration work are present on the horns, ears and eyes of the ram head that serves as a cimiero (a crest).The choice of the ram for the aesthetic meaning of the parade helmet was not random. The ram is a symbol of strength, power, regeneration and rebirth-solar symbol of the god Amon in Karnak. The ram is also illustrated in the myth of the Golden Fleece, conquered by Jason, who delivers it to Pelias in memory of the glorious expedition of the Argonauts. For this, a ram was assumed in heaven and dedicated to him as a constellation.


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