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(in Russian, kaska), a leather or metal headgear, usually capped by a metal point or crest, used to protect the head in armies, fire departments, and various paramilitary organizations. Metal helmets appeared in early antiquity (the Bronze Age). In the 18th and 19th centuries helmets were often adorned with feather or horsehair plumes. In World War I all armies used steel helmets as a protection against shrapnel bullets, stones, and small fragments of projectiles, including mines and grenades. The Soviet Army used pointed helmets (kaski) until 1939, when they were replaced by plain steel helmets (in Russian, shlew).
a form of protective headgear. Helmets made of wood, birch bark, plaited twigs, and leather appeared in prehistoric times, and others decorated with feathers and carvings have been described by ethnographers. Ancient helmets made of copper and gold have been found in the royal tombs of Ur and date from the third millennium B.C. When there was a shortage of metal in ancient Egypt, warriors wore small, round, leather or linen caps that were sometimes reinforced with metal plates. Low copper helmets were worn in Babylonia, and a conoidal helmet better than any other existing helmet for deflecting blows was developed in Assyria. The bronze and iron helmets of the Greeks had high crests, and iron helmets were used in ancient Rome. The hemispherical metal helmets commonly used in Western Europe during the early Middle Ages were replaced in the tenth century by conical helmets; one of the ancient Russian helmets found at the Gnezdovo burial mounds is an example of the latter type.
Helmets with a beaver that covered the face appeared in the 13th century in Western Europe. Spherical, visored sallets with a beaver and helmets that covered the entire head were typical of the 14th through 16th centuries. Excavations of such sites as the Gnezdovo burial mounds and the Chernaia Mogila indicate that the basic Russian helmet from the tenth century through the 17th was a pointed, conoidal helmet (shishak), camailed to protect the neck and shoulders. The ancient Russian helmets used before the Mongol conquests had nasals as well as masks that covered the entire face.
Some Russian helmets—for example, the helmet of Prince Iaroslav Vsevolodovich, found at the site of the battle of Lipetsk—bore embossed images. Richly decorated helmets of the 13th through 17th centuries were preserved in the Armory of the Kremlin. Hemispherical helmets with a neckguard, earpieces, a visor, and a nasal were widely used by cavalrymen of Eastern and Central Europe during the 1500’s. A low, flat helmet (in Russian, misiurka) was also used.
After the 17th century, helmets became lighter. Sometimes decorated with crests and plumes, they were called casques. The shape of the budenovka, the headgear worn by members of the Red Army, derives from the Russian pointed helmet. Steel helmets—called kaski in the Soviet Army until 1939—were introduced in World War I. Since the early 1900’s, the special protective headgear worn by pilots, tank crews, and skiers have also been called helmets.
REFERENCEKirpichnikov, A. N. Drevnerusskoe oruzhie, fasc. 3. Leningrad, 1971.
D. A. AVDUSIN
What does it mean when you dream about a helmet?
An instrument of protection, a helmet can mean that either the dreamer is secure physically or the dreamer’s thoughts and ideas need to be guarded.