18 September 2023, 08:36

A warrior's 'legacy' – an iron helmet with a skull inside from the Royal Ontario Museum

A warrior's 'legacy' – an iron helmet with a skull inside from the Royal Ontario Museum
A mysterious relic, an iron helmet with a warrior's skull inside, was found in 1834. It is now a gallery exhibit at the Royal Ontario Museum. The history of this helmet is associated with the times of the Battle of Marathon.

The author of the find was George Nugent-Grenville, the British High Commissioner of the Ionian Islands. The helmet, along with the skull of its owner, was unearthed on the Marathon plains. The find came to the museum in 1926.
The weight of the helmet is 1193.1 grams, it has a missing part, so this makes it different from the original weight. The thickness of the metal is different, ranging from 0.82 mm to 10 mm. The rear part, and especially the crown, are very thin, reaching a thickness of less than one mm, and here it is clearly visible that the edge of the helmet is thicker and rapidly thins. This made it a very effective face shield when the wearer faced his enemy, but was of little use to someone who was struck on the back of the head.

As for the skull, it is difficult for researchers to be 100% sure that this particular helmet was on him in 1834. Since the Battle of Marathon was a victory for the Greeks, they could leave no body part or any useful equipment on the field. The only damage to the helmet, according to scientists, was due to its solid age.
Researchers cannot be sure that the skull belonged to the owner of the helmet, but they do not rule it out. DNA analysis and radiocarbon dating could help resolve controversial questions about the identification of this mysterious find.

The Battle of Marathon is considered one of the largest land battles of the Greco-Persian Wars, which took place on September 12, 490 BC. near the city of the same name, approximately 42 km from Athens. This battle "tells" about the crushing defeat of the Persian army. Under the leadership of Miltiades, the allied army of Athenians and Plataeans destroyed most of the enemy's army.
For the Hellenes, it was the first victory over the army of the Achaemenid Empire. However, for the Persians, their defeat did not have great consequences: their state was at the peak of its power and had enormous resources. However, after her, Darius began to gather a huge army to conquer all of Greece. However, his plans were hindered by the uprising of Egypt in 486 BC. e. Preparations for the conquest of Greece after Darius were continued by Xerxes, who later took the throne.

An iron helmet with a warrior's skull, found in 1834 and now in the gallery of the Royal Ontario Museum. And it remains a symbol of the enduring fascination with the past, a past that is often shrouded in mystery but continues to shape understanding of the world today.

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