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Episode 687

Emesa helmet
Sat, 2019-Mar-23 00:45 UTC
Length - 2:49

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Welcome to featured Wiki of the Day where we read the summary of the featured Wikipedia article every day.

The featured article for Saturday, 23 March 2019 is Emesa helmet.

The Emesa helmet (also known as the Homs helmet) is a Roman cavalry helmet from the early first century AD. It consists of an iron head piece and face mask, the latter of which is covered in a sheet of silver and presents the individualised portrait of a face, likely its owner. Decorations, some of which are gilded, adorn the head piece. Confiscated by Syrian police soon after looters discovered it amidst a complex of tombs in the modern-day city of Homs in 1936, the helmet was eventually thoroughly restored at the British Museum, and is now in the collection of the National Museum of Damascus. It has been exhibited internationally, although as of 2017, due to the Syrian Civil War, the more valuable items owned by the National Museum are hidden in underground storage.

Ornately designed yet highly functional, the helmet was probably intended for both parades and battle. Its delicate covering is too fragile to have been put to use during cavalry tournaments, but the thick iron core would have defended against blows and arrows. Narrow slits for the eyes, with three small holes underneath to allow downward sight, sacrificed vision for protection; roughly cut notches below each eye suggest a hastily made modification of necessity.

The helmet was found in a tomb near a monument to a former ruler of Emesa and, considering the lavishness of the silver and gold design, likely belonged to a member of the élite. As it is modelled after those helmets used in Roman tournaments, even if unlikely to have ever been worn in one, it may have been gifted by a Roman official to a Syrian general or, more likely, manufactured in Syria after the Roman style. The acanthus scroll ornamentation seen on the neck guard recalls that used on Syrian temples, suggesting that the helmet may have been made in the luxury workshops of Antioch.

This recording reflects the Wikipedia text as of 00:45 UTC on Saturday, 23 March 2019.

For the full current version of the article, see Emesa helmet on Wikipedia.

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