Head of Minerva with helmet, slightly inclined to the right.

Minerva, helmet, Goddess, ancient Marbles, British Museum,
Head of Minerva

Head of Minerva with helmet.

Head of Minerva, slightly inclined to the right. The hair, parted in the middle, is drawn back from the temples, after the manner usual in the representations of Minerva, and falls behind the ears, upon the neck.

This head has probably been taken from a small statue of Minerva. The type of the helmet is of the kind commonly called, from its constant occurrence on the coins of Corinth, it has a vizor which could be raised or lowered at pleasure, with holes for the eyes. At the sides of the helmet are seen the two straps by which the helmet was tied beneath the chin when the vizor was down. These straps were made of leather, and were sometimes richly decorated with embroidery or embossed ornaments.

When the helmet was raised, they appear to have been doubled up, in order to be out of the way, and at the same time to prevent it from slipping down. A similar arrangement of these straps may be seen on the helmet of the supposed Ajax in the Museum of the Vatican, where the broader part of the strap is ornamented with the device of an animal. This head was found near Rome.

The lower part of the nose and the fore part of the helmet have been restored. Its material is Pentelic marble. Its height, without the pedestal, is 1 foot 4 inches.

Source: A description of the collection of ancient Marbles in the British Museum by Combe Taylor, London 1861.

Illustration, damasks, ornament


Note:  Mary Herbert, countess of Pembroke, née Mary Sidney.

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