Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Musee de l'Ancien Eveche | The Helmet of Chlodomer?


The helmet as photographed in 2003
This wonderful helmet was found in the 1870s in a peat bog at Saint-Didier, near Vézeronce-Curtin, about 55km to the north-west of Grenoble. It is composed of a gilded copper helm with brass cheek-pieces, and a ring mail neck protection in iron (the leather portions are modern). The helmet appears to be of Byzantine manufacture and was, most likely, owned by a Frankish chieftain. The museum information card dates it to ‘Around 524’ as the find spot was close to the reputed site of the Battle of Vézeronce, fought between the Franks and the Burgundians on June 25, 524 AD. While the battle initially went in the favour of the Burgundians, the Franks turned the tide, albeit with the loss of their king, Chlodomer. The museum’s information card for this piece notes that such a richly decorated item would have belonged to an important individual and dangles the possibility that it may have been Chlodomer’s before saying that is impossible to know for sure.


The helmet as photographed in 2003