The Boar Helmet, 2000bc to 500bc, The Pontic Steppe to Italy


MIMIR’S BRUNNR — The Boar helmet has been a potent symbol of warrior prowess through out the Indo-European world. This is not surprising considering the Boar, in short is a symbol of the transformative powers of meeting the struggle of life head on. This article will be a short overview of this magnificent war talisman, the Boar helmet.

The earliest evidence we have of Boar helmets comes from Mariupol in the Ukraine, dating to around 2000BC. Mariupol is situated just north of the Black sea, located in the Pontic Steppe. This area is of course where Yamna culture developed, who many consider to be the originators of the Indo-European languages. Given the dating of this artefact though, it is more likely to belong to the Catacomb culture, which appears to of developed at least in part out of Yamna culture. This early Boar helm is simple in its construction, consisting of slithers of Boar tusks added to a leather cap. Below is an artistic impression of how this helm may of looked when it was originally made.

The simple construction would of offered little protection and was probably considered more a status symbol. Boars being a notoriously brave and bold animal were not an easy opponent for a bronze age hunter. The Boars nature, unlike most “prey” animals, is to charge its attacker, bringing his full weight and lethal tusks to bare down upon the aggressor. Given the dangers involved Boar tusks would of been a rare commodity, that only the brave or wealthy could obtain. This would of given Boar tusks a high status appeal, for the hunter a symbol of skill and for the affluent one of wealth. It is also possible given my interpretation of the Boar symbol as a symbol, not only of adversary, but also one of transformation and birthing that these helmets may of been used in an initiation process. Whatever the true meaning behind this helmet was, we know that it must of carried with it a powerful status, that as we will see continues to hold meaning for millennia. […]

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