By  Periklis    Deligiannis


The prow and ram of the modern trireme Olympias.


After  the  Etruscan  defeat  in  the  land  battle  of  Cumae  (524  BC),  the  Cumaeans  and  the  Etruscans  (or  Tyrrhenians or Tyrsenians) did  not  come  into  heavy  fighting  until  505  BC.  That  year,  the  Latins  of  the  small  city-state  Aricia  called  for  help  the  Cumaeans  against  the  Etruscans.  In  505  BC  the  Aricians,  the  Romans  and  the  other  Latins  revolted  against  the  Etruscan  rule,  gaining  their  independence,  but  the  Tyrrhenians  had  returned  under  the  leadership  of Larth  Porsena, the powerful  warlord  of  the  city-state  Clusium  (Etruscan  Clevsin).  Porsena  was  sent  by  the  Etruscan  Confederacy  (‘Dodekapolis’)  and  managed to recapture  rebellious  Rome.  Then  he  returned  to  Clusium  to  deal  with  other  enemies  of  the  Tyrrhenians,  leaving  Larth  Aruns, his  son,  to  reconquer  the  other  cities  of  Latium.

The  Aricians  called  the  Cumaeans  for  help,  who  acceded  to  their  request  in  order  to  accomplish  a  preventative  blow  to  their  Tyrrhenian  enemies.  The  aristocratic  rulers  of  Cumae  dispatched    a  military  expedition  to  Aricia under  Aristodemos,  a veteran  hero  of  the  battle  of  Cumae.  The  Cumaeans  knew  that  sooner  or  later  the  Etruscans  would  again  march  against  them.  The  Greek  ships  sailed  to  the  Latin  coast  and landed in  the  territory  of  the  Laurentes,  the  people  of  the  city-state  Lavinium.  The  Greek  military  force  disembarked and  marched  to  Aricia.  The  city  was  under  siege  by  the  Etruscans  under  Aruns.  The  Cumaeans  joined  forces  with  the  Aricians  and  other  Latins  and  confronted  the  Tyrrhenians  in  a  hoplite  battle  (the  main  battle  troops  of  the  Etruscans,  Greeks  and  Latins  of  this  period  were  their  Greek-style  hoplite  phalanxes). Continue reading




Italian lightly  armed warrior (by Peter Connolly), the main type of lightly armed  Italian warriors who attacked Cumae in 524 BC. Especially for the peoples of the Apennines, the central mountain range of the Italian peninsula, this was the main combatant type. These hardy and stubborn warriors, mainly Oscan and Southern Umbrian, caused great problems in Rome in the coming centuries. The depicted warrior has a native Italian helmet with a Greek-type plume. He bears a protection plate on his neck and a pactorale – a circular disk to protect his chest. He holds two spears – one heavier and one lighter. He also has a Greek-type sword (copyright: Peter Connolly).


By  Periklis    Deligiannis


In 745 BC, the Euboean Greek settlers who had colonized years ago, the small island  Pithekousai off  coast of the  Bay  of  Naples  in  Italy, founded  Cumae  (Cyme  in  Greek,  Cumae  in  Latin) on the opposite coast. Cumae was the first ‘official’ Greek colony in the Italian peninsula. Pithekousai was actually the first, but ‘unofficial’ colony in Italy. Cumae took its name from the Euboean Cyme, rather as a neutral compromise between Chalkidean and Eretrian settlers, the most numerous among the Euboeans. Chalkis and Eretria were the most powerful city-states of the large island Euboea in the Aegean Sea.

Soon Cumae, enhanced by new colonists from Chalcis, Eretria, the Euboean Cyme, Tanagra (Boeotia), Cirinthos (Euboea) and Oropia (Boeotia), expanded in the fertile land of the Phlegraian Fields to the north. Later, further more Greek colonists arrived in Cumae from Magna Graecia, Samos etc. founding subsidiary colonies and thereby increasing the extent of the Cumaean territory. Among the Cumaean colonies, Neapolis (modern Naples) would become the most important. In other cases, the Greeks settled in existing villages o f  the  indigenous Ausones, turning them into Greek colonies, as it happened in Pompeii, Heraklion (Herculaneum), etc. Thus the boundaries of the Cumaean territory were approaching fast  the river Volturnus, but soon they were confined by a powerful enemy: the Etruscans (or  Tyrrhenians  as the Greeks used to call them), the people of Etruria (modern Tuscany), mostly of Anatolian origins (from Lydia, Asia Minor).

The competition between the Greeks and the Etruscans was older enough. The mythographer Palaifatos (“On Unbelievers”) assures that the sea monster Scylla, which Odysseus encountered on his wanderings (“Odyssey”), represented the danger facing the Greek merchant ships in the Strait of Messina, from the Etruscan pirates.

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ITALO-CORINTHIAΝ AND OSCO-ATTIC HELMETS: The Evolution of the Greek Helmets in ITALY (8th-1st cent.BC)

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By Periklis  Deligiannis

South_Italy An  Osco-Attic  helmet  of  the  Lucanians  with  many  characteristic  Oscan  novelties.


Etruscan  hoplites  of  Tarquinia  with  Greek  arms  and  armour,  4th  century  BC.  The  hoplite  on  the  right  wears  a  proper  Attic  helmet.  The  left  one  wears  a  mixed  Phrygo-Attic  helmet.

The  peoples  of  ancient  Italy,  firstly  the  Etruscans  and  the  Iapyges  (later  known  as  ‘Apulians’),  used  almost  all  types  of  the  Archaic,  Classical  and  Hellenistic  Greek  helmets:  the  Corinthian,  the  Chalkidean,  the  Attic (Athenian),  the  Boeotian  (for  the  cavalry)  and  later  the  Thracian,  the  Phrygian  and  all  the  Hellenistic  types.  They  had  particular  preference  for  the  first  three  types.  In  this  article, I  will  deal  specifically  with  two  types  of  helmets  in  Italy  which  originated  from  the  evolution  of  the  original  Greek  respective  ones:  the  Italo-Corinthian  and  the  Italo-Attic  or  Osco-Attic  helmet  (in  fact,  the  Osco-Attic  is  the  main  variety  of  the  Italo-Attic  group  of  helmets).
The  Italo-Corinthian  helmet  (also  known  as  Pseudo-Corinthian,  Apulo-Corinthian  or  Etrusco-Corinthian  )  was  born  out  of  the  habit  of  the  warriors  of  Italy  to  wear  their  Corinthian  helmet  raised,  even  when  the  battle  began.  Because  of  this,  the  protective  visor  gradually  evolved  into  a  decorative  ‘pseudo-visor’  while  the  helmet  was  manufactured  in  a  manner  that  did  not  cover  the  face  anymore.  In  the  later  centuries,  Attic-type  cheek-protectors  were  added  in  it.



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By  Periklis    Deligiannis
The  standard  type of  Attic/Athenian  helmet  of  the  Roman  officers.

The  Attic  or  Athenian  helmet  was  an  invention  of  the  ancient  Athenians,  derived  from  a  transformation  of  the  older  Chalkidean  casque  (or  Chalkidian).  The  History  of  the  Attic  helmet  spans  to  more  than  a  thousand  years  and  belongs  paradoxically,  more  to  the  Italian-Roman  rather  than  the  Greek  arsenal.
The  ancestral  Chalkidean  helmet  (6th  century  BC)  was  a  “lighter”  type  of  the  even  older  and  famous  Corinthian  or  Dorian  helmet (the  typical  helmet  of  the  Classical  Spartans).  The  Chalkidean  helmet  came  from  the  attempt  of  the  Chalkideans  to  solve  the  problem  of  the  limited  vision  and  hearing  of  the  hoplite,  because  of   his  Corinthian  helmet.  The  Chalkideans  were  the  people  of  the  city-state   Chalkis  in  the  island  Euboea, famous  for  its  weaponry  during  the  Archaic  Era (7th cent. – 479  BC).  It  seems  that  the  Chalkidean  helmet  was  popular  in  Athens  and  Attica,  as  we  can  see  in the  Athenian  vase-paintings.  This  preference  might  be  due  partly  to  the  Ionic  ethnological  affinities  of  the  Athenians  and  Euboeans.
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