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Horned Helmets

Horned Helmets have been worn by various warrior groups from ancient times but , in spite of popular belief, not by the Vikings. Jürgen Spanuth, the leading proponent of a North Sea Atlantis, has identified the Sea Peoples who attacked the Egyptians as North Sea Peoples. The attack was recorded by the Egyptians on the walls of Medinet Habu and where they depicted some of the invaders with horned helmets. Spanuth claimed that “The only known Bronze Age horned helmets come from north Europe”[0015.55]. The illustrations from the Danish National Museum used by Spanuth[0015.31] were more likely to have been for ceremonial use and show no signs of having been used in battle.*A January 2018 article highlights a horned figure on the so-called Oseberg Tapestry, who appears to be leading a religious procession, contributing to the theory that the few horned helmets found so far were probably used for ceremonial purposes(e). Another textile fragment found at the same site also depicts a horned person, which to my mind is more reminiscent of a nordic shaman than a warrior.*

It is noteworthy that the ‘Gjermundbu Helmet’, discovered in 1943 in Nazi-occupied Norway, is the only helmet documented to have existed during the Viking period and is clearly hornless(d).

Furthermore, he was incorrect in claiming that horned helmets were only used in northern Europe during the Bronze Age. Archaeologist Roger Grosjean (1920-1975) has demonstrated(a) that the Torreans of Corsica did use such helmets during that period. The Sherden/Shardana, considered to be one of the Sea Peoples depicted at Medinet Habu are shown as wearing horned helmets and in every instance, except three, they include a round additional piece on the crest. The Shardana are generally accepted to be from Sardinia and are possibly related to the Torreans on neighbouring Corsica. However, the Sardinian examples do not appear to have the accoutrement at the helmets’ crest depicted at Medinet Habu.

Andrea Salimbeti’s website(b) devoted to the Greek Bronze Age has a section on the helmets used in the Aegean during that period, which depicts some horned helmets used by the Mycenaeans(c).

In conclusion, I think Spanuth’s horned helmet evidence is flawed but also that the Sardinian theory is not watertight. Furthermore, his core claim of an invasion from the North Sea into the Eastern Mediterranean is equally untenable. Bronze Age territorial expansion was always into adjacent or nearby territory. A journey of over 4,000 miles from Heligoland to attack Egypt makes no sense.

(a) https://medium.com/the-bronze-age/the-mysterious-horned-warrior-torreans-of-the-isle-of-corsica-853b5e98c677

(b)  http://www.salimbeti.com/micenei/index.htm

(c) http://www.salimbeti.com/micenei/helmets1.htm (Also see helmets2 & helmets3)

(d) https://thornews.com/2014/06/07/why-is-this-the-only-existing-viking-age-helmet/

*(e) https://thornews.com/2018/01/11/the-confusing-horned-helmets-depicted-in-the-oseberg-viking-age-tapestries/*