Cervelliere

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Cervelliere c. 1240/1250.

cervelliere (cervellière, cervelliera;[1] Latin: cervellerium,[2] cerebrarium,[3] cerebrerium, cerebotarium[4]) is a hemispherical, close-fitting[5] skull cap of steel or iron.[3] It was worn as a helmet during the medieval period.

History[edit]

It was first introduced during the late 12th century and was the primary head protection for Crusaders at that time and was worn either alone or more often over or under a mail coif.[5] Also the great helm could be worn over a cervelliere,[5] and by the late 13th century this would be the usual practice.[citation needed]

Over time, the head grew more pointed and the back of the skull cap elongated to cover the neck, thus evolving into the bascinet.[6] Cerveillieres were worn throughout the medieval period and even during the Renaissance.[7] Cheap and easy to produce, they were much used by commoners and non-professional soldiers who could not afford more advanced protection.

Ancedotally, contemporary medieval literature credit the invention of the cervellière to astrologer Michael Scot ca. 1233,[1] though not seriously entertained by most historians.[1] The Chronicon Nonantulanum[note 1] records that the astrologer devised the iron-plate cap shortly before his own predicted death, which he still inevitably met when a stone weighing two ounces fell on his protected head[2][3]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Planché gives Nantubanum but Nonantulanum is given by Du Cange

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Muendel 2002
  2. ^ a b Du Cange 1842, p. 295
  3. ^ a b c Planché 1896, p. 88, volume 2
  4. ^ Planché, loc. cit., citing Chronicon Francisi Pepina, lib. ii. cap. 50
  5. ^ a b c Nicolle & 1996 p-51
  6. ^ Petersen 1968 (Encyclopaedia Britannica, "Helmet")
  7. ^ Douglas Miller, Armies of the German Peasants' War 1524-26 (Oxford: Osprey Publishing, 2003), 47.

External links[edit]