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Episode 721

Benty Grange helmet
Fri, 2019-Apr-26 01:15 UTC
Length - 3:03

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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 Friday, 26 April 2019 is Benty Grange helmet.

The Benty Grange helmet is a boar-crested Anglo-Saxon helmet from the 7th century AD. It was excavated by Thomas Bateman in 1849 from a tumulus at the Benty Grange farm in Monyash in western Derbyshire. The grave had likely been looted by the time of Bateman's excavation, but still contained other high-status objects suggestive of a richly furnished burial, such as the fragmentary remains of a hanging bowl. The helmet is displayed at Sheffield's Weston Park Museum, which purchased it from Bateman's estate in 1893.

The helmet was constructed by covering the outside of an iron framework with plates of horn and the inside with cloth or leather; the organic material has since decayed. It would have provided some protection against weapons, but was also ornate and may have been intended for ceremonial use. It was the first Anglo-Saxon helmet to be discovered; five others, from Sutton Hoo, York, Wollaston, Shorwell, and Staffordshire, have been found since. The helmet features a unique combination of structural and technical attributes, but contemporaneous parallels exist for its individual characteristics. It is classified as one of the "crested helmets" used in Northern Europe from the 6th to 11th centuries AD.

The most striking feature of the helmet is the boar at its apex; this pagan symbol faces towards a Christian cross on the nasal in a display of syncretism. This is representative of 7th-century England when Christian missionaries were slowly converting Anglo-Saxons away from traditional Germanic mythology. The helmet seems to exhibit a stronger preference towards paganism, with a large boar and a small cross. The cross may have been added for talismanic effect, the help of any god being welcome on the battlefield. The boar atop the crest was likewise associated with protection and suggests a time when boar-crested helmets may have been common, as do the helmet from Wollaston and the Guilden Morden boar. The contemporary epic Beowulf mentions such helmets five times and speaks of the strength of men "when the hefted sword, its hammered edge and gleaming blade slathered in blood, razes the sturdy boar-ridge off a helmet".





This recording reflects the Wikipedia text as of 01:15 UTC on Friday, 26 April 2019.

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

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