Height: 20.000 cm
Gift of King George IV
GR 1823.6-10.1 (Bronze 250)
Room 73: Greeks in Italy
Bronze helmet with an inscription of Hieron I
Etruscan, about 500-480 BC
Made in ancient Etruria, in modern Italy
Dedicated by a tyrant of Syracuse in the Sanctuary of Zeus at Olympia
Syracuse was a Greek colony founded by Corinth, and between about 500 and 200 BC it became the most prosperous city on the island of Sicily. In 474 BC Hieron I, Syracuse's king, responded to an appeal from the Greeks at Cumae and defeated the Etruscans in a naval battle. The poet Pindar described this victory as 'freeing Greece from slavery' in a poem written in honour of Hieron's success in the chariot race of 470 BC at Delphi.
This Etruscan helmet was captured at the battle. The inscription translates 'Hieron, son of Deinomenes, and the Syracusans, [dedicated] to Zeus Etruscan [spoils] from Cumae'. It was then deposited in the Sanctuary of Zeus at Olympia as a dedication to the god. The same inscription was also found there on a Greek bronze helmet of Corinthian type, which is now in the Olympia Museum.
E. Macnamara, Everyday life of the Etruscans (Barsford/Putnams, 1973)
J. Swaddling, The ancient Olympic Games, 3rd edition (London, The British Museum Press, 2004)
E. Macnamara, The Etruscans-1 (London, The British Museum Press, 1990)
M. Sprenger, G. Bartoloni, M. and A. Hirmer, The Etruscans (New York, Abrams, 1983)