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10.01.2020

Helmet

The remains of five helmets from the Viking Age are known to exist: the Tjele helmet fragment, two fragments from Gotland, one fragment from Kiev, and the Gjermundbu helmet. Only the remains from Gjermundbu were capable of reconstruction. It was excavated on a farm called Gjermundbu in Ringerike in central Norway. Gjermundbu is located in Haugsbygd, a village in northeast of Hønefoss, in Buskerud, Norway.

The helmet dates to the 10th century. This helmet was made of iron from four plates after the spangenhelm pattern. This helmet has a rounded cap, and there is evidence that it also may have had a mail aventail. It has a "spectacle" guard around the eyes and nose which formed a sort of mask, which suggests a close affinity with the earlier Vendel Period helmets.

From runestones and other illustrations, it is known that the Vikings also wore simpler helmets, often caps with a simple noseguard. Research indicates that Vikings may have only rarely used metal helmets. Helmets with metal horns, presumably for ceremonial use, are known from the Nordic Bronze Age, 2,000 years prior to the Viking Age.

Despite popular culture, there is no evidence that Vikings used horned helmets in battle as such horns would be impractical in a melee, but it is possible that horned head dresses were used in ritual contexts. The horned and winged helmets associated with the Vikings in popular mythology were the invention of 19th-century Romanticism. The horned helmet may have been introduced in Richard Wagner's Ring opera: The male chorus wore horned helmets, while the other characters had winged helmets.

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