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Monday, May 18, 2020

Seventh century BCE Armor Fit For The Gods!

These helmets and mitra (belly guards) are among the finest pieces of a large cache of armor found near Afrati in south central Crete. The inscriptions suggest that the armor was captured as booty and offered as a dedication. In repoussé on both sides of one helmet is a pair of winged youths grasping a pair of intertwined snakes. Below them are two panthers with a common head. The helmet is inscribed "Neopolis." In repoussé on both sides of the other helmet is a horse. Incised on each cheekpiece is a lion. Images of strength and calm, these creatures were intended to provide symbolic protection in battle. The helmets are made in symmetrical pieces and tapered at the base to protect the warrior's neck. The inscription states that Synenitos, the son of Euklotas, took this object. The mitrai were suspended from belts to protect the lower abdomen. One, with a depiction of the foreparts of horses, is inscribed "Synenitos, the son of Euklotas, [took] this." The second mitra decorated with two sphinxes in a heraldic representation reflects the influence of Near Eastern prototypes.
All images courtesy of the Metropolitan Museum of Art except the frontal view of the helmet which is my own.

7th century BCE helmet recovered from a cache of armor found near Afrati, Crete at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York

7th century BCE helmet recovered from a cache of armor found near Afrati, Crete at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York

7th century BCE helmet recovered from a cache of armor found near Afrati, Crete photographed at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York

7th century BCE mitra recovered from a cache of armor found near Afrati, Crete at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York

7th century BCE mitra recovered from a cache of armor found near Afrati, Crete at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York

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