7TH-9TH CENTURY ANGLO-SAXON CHIEFTAINS

An extract from Armies of the Dark Ages 600-1066
by Ian Heath


111 & 112.      7TH-9TH CENTURY ANGLO-SAXON CHIEFTAINS

Both these men wear mail byrnies and helmets, considerable rarities among the early Saxons though, like swords, they became more common as time went on.

111 is taken from the late-7th or early-8th century Franks Casket. His helmet is similar to the later nasal types except that it has a leather or fabric coif which is laced round the throat. 111a shows a similar type which is clearly of fabric or leather.

112 has a longer mail corselet split to facilitate riding, and a boar-crested helmet. Such helmets are mentioned in many literary sources though to date only one has been found, at Benty Grange in 1848. It consisted of plates of horn reinforced by an iron framework, while the boar itself is silver-plated bronze. The helmet may have originally had a mail aventail.

112a and b show alternative types of crest. 112c shows the Sutton Hoo helmet, with face, cheek and neck guards. Although much decorated with bronze and gilt it was originally a late Roman cavalry helmet.



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