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Roger Hooper




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PostPosted: Wed 16 May, 2012 12:30 pm    Post subject: What was the most efficient Medieval Helm?         Reply with quote

There could never be the perfect medieval helm. On one side you need protection for the head and face. On the other you need to be able to see, and you need access to the outside air for breathing and temperature control.

What helmet design do you think best balanced the various needs of the person wearing it?
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Robin Smith




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PostPosted: Wed 16 May, 2012 12:34 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

The Nasal helm... By far the best looking, and we all know that's what's important!



Then again I am biased Big Grin

Seriously though I do think the design has alot of merits. Even as more enclosed helms became the norm for cavalry use, the Nasal helm whether Spangen, Phyrigian, or round topped continued to be used for infantry that needed to be able to see and move.

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Gary Teuscher





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PostPosted: Wed 16 May, 2012 12:45 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I think what some do not realized as well is the nasal provided good protection not just for the nose, but to many swung attacks to the upper half of the face, not just the nose.
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Ryan S.





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PostPosted: Wed 16 May, 2012 3:02 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

It is certainly efficient in that it is not complicated, and is made of one piece of metal. How it compares at deflecting blows compared to other helmets, I don't know. The major drawback is its lack of face protection.
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Sander Marechal




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PostPosted: Wed 16 May, 2012 3:24 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Ryan S. wrote:
The major drawback is its lack of face protection.


A nasal protects surprisingly well, as Gary already mentioned. Also, a nasal wasn't worn alone. There's a maille coif underneath. Many surviving nasals have a hook at the end of the nasal (or evidence that one used to be there but broke off). I think they hung the ventail from that hook. That combination gives a pretty decent face protection.

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Elling Polden




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PostPosted: Wed 16 May, 2012 3:35 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

The nasal offers to little protection of the face against spear thrusts, which would be the main danger faced on the battlefield.
Especially if you are nor standing crouched behind a shield. They are also weak towards flat blows to the side of the head.

The uppgaded made to fix this was the introduction of face plates and brimed kettlehatts.
The face plate helmets where found to offer to little coverage to the sides and back of the head, promting all round greathelms, followed by longer greathelms that also protected the neck.

These where in turn fitted with visors, producing the bacinet.

Which further evolved to high gothic sallets and close helmets.

Personally I would probably prefer a light weight Bourgnett or early renaisance close helm.

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Ryan S.





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PostPosted: Wed 16 May, 2012 4:42 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Sander Marechal wrote:
Ryan S. wrote:
The major drawback is its lack of face protection.


A nasal protects surprisingly well, as Gary already mentioned. Also, a nasal wasn't worn alone. There's a maille coif underneath. Many surviving nasals have a hook at the end of the nasal (or evidence that one used to be there but broke off). I think they hung the ventail from that hook. That combination gives a pretty decent face protection.


I didn't mean to say it had no protection, just less that other helms.
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Marcos Cantu





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PostPosted: Wed 16 May, 2012 5:38 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

its always seemed to me that a blow to the nasal would result in a broken nose for the person wearing one due to the minimal standoff distance between the metal and nose...
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Y. Perez





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PostPosted: Wed 16 May, 2012 7:13 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote



Bascinet with noseguard?
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Roger Hooper




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PostPosted: Wed 16 May, 2012 8:07 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I'm not convinced about nasal helms - good for cutting protection, but not piercing. I wonder if King Harald at Hastings was wearing a nasal helm when he got an arrow in the eye.
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Jean Thibodeau




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PostPosted: Wed 16 May, 2012 9:12 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Wide brim kettle hat with cheek/side pieces worn with a coif or gorget: One can breathe freely, the brim protects against vertical cuts and angled diagonal cuts and the cheek or side pieces also protect against a horizontal cut.

The wide brim even gives some protection to the shoulders from arrows coming in from a high angle. Wink

Still vulnerable to a thrust but if one lowers the head the brim can maybe stop some thrusts. An eye slot kettle hat with a deep brim can be worn tilted back so that one normally looks at the opponent(s) from below the brim and if one has to lower one's head one can then still see the opponent thought the eye slot and maintain situational awareness Anyway that's my theory about how best to use an eye slot kettle hat as opposed to wearing it with the front low and having to look through the eye slot all the time.

( Edited once for typos noticed a few hours after posting ).

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Last edited by Jean Thibodeau on Thu 17 May, 2012 2:17 am; edited 1 time in total
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William P




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PostPosted: Wed 16 May, 2012 10:33 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

also the gothic sallet was worn with a bevor, its advantages even without bevor included the visor which in some models could be raised and lowered, but its not perfect by any means because it needs the bevor to protect the jaw and throat.

in reality though, the close helm was the pinnicle of helmet design in terms of technology,

the close helm often had double visors, one could open downwards, the other upwards ethereofre one could chose to expose the smallest amount of area as one needs.
for the sake of hearing many helms both armet's close helms AND burgonets featured pierced holes arranged in a pattern on the sides alot like the 'breathes' on a great helm allowing people to hear things. (how good it was in reality i dont know)

the close helm also includes a integrated gorget.

the burgonet could function just as well if a falling buff (essentially like a very tall bevor that could cover the eyes.
bbut i think the close helm is the best technologically at trying to do many thhings at once.


also, instead of nasel helms, im inclined to think the russian 'half mask'helms are a damn good compromise withor without a coif/ extensive aventail. http://members.ozemail.com.au/~chrisandpeter/...nikolskoie
they also have fluted skulls making them alot stronger. and the spectacles help alot with regards to eye and face protection, not to mention these helms also had very extensive maile aventails , a series of holes along the base of he spectacles and around the edge of the nasel allowed one to very efficiently attatch an aventail.
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Antonio Ganarini




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PostPosted: Thu 17 May, 2012 12:24 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

What do you think of a helm like this? It could be a good compromise...
I could not find an original one, but just to throw in this idea...!

( Cry I've edited this post because of its bad bad bad english... I'm not sure it's ok now, but I'm doing my best!)



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Ciao a tutti!
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Craig Peters




PostPosted: Thu 17 May, 2012 6:04 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Marcos Cantu wrote:
its always seemed to me that a blow to the nasal would result in a broken nose for the person wearing one due to the minimal standoff distance between the metal and nose...


Usama ibn Munqidh mentions in his Kitab al-I'tibar mentions that his father was saved from a javelin thrown at his face only because it struck the nasal protection on his helm. I am not sure if his nose was broken or not. Although some people doubt the veracity of Usama's writings on account that he was trying to prove Allah's will and providence through them, I think he was probably telling the truth for this event. There seems little reason why he should lie about his own father for the purpose of a story.
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Matthew Amt




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PostPosted: Thu 17 May, 2012 6:48 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Marcos Cantu wrote:
its always seemed to me that a blow to the nasal would result in a broken nose for the person wearing one due to the minimal standoff distance between the metal and nose...


I doubt that was much of a problem. A flesh-cleaving blow does not have to be hard enough to break anything, and a nasal will stop those cold. Plus, there was a lot of variation in nasals! My own nasal helmet has saved my face several times, and I don't recall the nasal ever touching my nose. Basically, if the helmet fits, it will protect you just fine.

Roger Hooper wrote:
I'm not convinced about nasal helms - good for cutting protection, but not piercing. I wonder if King Harald at Hastings was wearing a nasal helm when he got an arrow in the eye.


Well, I'm sure he was wearing a nasal helmet at Hastings, since that was the top of the line helmet at that time. But the story of him being hit in the eye is apparently myth, based on a figure in the tapestry which was not meant to be Harold, and a restored arrow which probably was not in the figure's eye originally.

Really, if the nasal on a helmet was that huge of a disadvantage, why was it so popular for several centuries?

The original question of "most efficient" helmet really can't be answered because of too many conflicting priorities. I'd probably go for a nice light kettle hat, since it keeps the rain and sun off the best. That's an infantryman's primary concern! Battles are rare, marching is common. For efficient *battle protection*, I'd vote for a pig-face bascinet or an armet.

Matthew
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Matthew Bunker




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PostPosted: Thu 17 May, 2012 7:13 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

At the re-enactment of Hastings in 2000, I was on the receiving end of a horizantal sword swing at face level, whilst moving downhill at speed (being on the doomed English right flank). Obviously the sword was blunt but the blow was delivered with some force; I have no doubt that the nasal (which bent inwards some 30 degrees) was all that stopped the bridge of my nose and the orbits of my eyesockets from being smashed in.

Shame I got an arrow in the eye some 6 years later, but that was whilst wearing a Valsgarde VIII helm with full mail ventail; lucky shot. Wink

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Sean Flynt
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PostPosted: Thu 17 May, 2012 7:24 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

By the late 15th c., armourers could do pretty much anything they wanted to do with steel, short of making it both bulletproof AND lightweight. Even then, there was no single perfect helmet. There's a great Dürer image of Maximilian standing in harness, without a helmet, but with several helmets at his feet--IIRC, there's a frog-mouth jousting helmet, a visored sallet and an armet. Given the man's status, we can assume these were considered the best designs available in the period/culture for the particular dangers they were meant to counter. If I had to choose one for general use? Shallow visored sallet (assumed to be worn with bevor or standard).
-Sean

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Jojo Zerach





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PostPosted: Thu 17 May, 2012 9:27 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I think the bascinet was the most successful medieval helmet.
It was the preferred helmet for knights and men-at-arms across Europe for a century. It had a well designed deflective shape, and was more protective than the nasal helm. Bascinets also usually featured removable visors, so they could be worn as an open faced or closed face helmet.
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Mark T




PostPosted: Fri 18 May, 2012 3:55 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Sean Flynt wrote:
If I had to choose one for general use? Shallow visored sallet (assumed to be worn with bevor or standard).


Me too:
- visor gives flexibility depending on what kind of context/fighting one's in (and visor when up gives added sun protection)
- they're sexy
- sallet + bevor still allows good air flow
- 'German' sallet tail gives good protection from arrows
- chicks dig 'em
- wide occularia gives good field of vision
- design allows for easy head rotation
- they're sexy
- gentle flare out to base leads blows away from body
- longitudinal riser / 'fin' on top plays havoc with blade edges

... oh, and did I mention they're sexy?



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Stanislav Prosek 'German' sallet, 12 guage, hardened. Grrr!

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Matthew Amt




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PostPosted: Fri 18 May, 2012 5:17 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Gotta agree, sallets are the sexiest! And looking good on the battlefield IS important!

Matthew
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