Types of Medieval Helmets
The medieval period has been the subject of many books, movies and other entertainments. In a world where swords are commonplace, what type of weapons did people wield in this time? Here is a list of some weapons you might find throughout the medieval era.

Top Medieval Weapons

  • Swords 

Real Swords were one of the most common items found in medieval times. There was a variety of styles that ranged from short stabbing swords to long single-edged daggers used for slashing and piercing with two hands. Long swords could also have a long and very sharp point designed for stabbing.

  • Body Armor

A piece of medieval armor that has been worn during the Middle Ages, typically around the neck and shoulders, to prevent injuries from impacts. They were mostly made of metal, but there were also some constructed from leather and cloth. 

Medieval armor

  • Medieval Helmet

A medieval helmet is a form of protective headgear worn in the Middle Ages. They were used alone or as part of a full suit of armor. The first helmets were fitted with a visor, an opaque panel in front to protect the eyes from bright sunlight, or from arrows and other weapons. 

Visors could be held in place by straps on the inside, or by mere pressure against the brow when raised for combat; this was bent slightly outwards for extra protection against impacts to the face. Some visors had eye slits so that one could see more clearly; although this helped keep out light, arrows and other missiles might still penetrate while bouncing off the slits' edges.

Features of A Medieval Helmet

In the Middle Ages, knights were the societal elite and among their ranks were soldiers - knights who fought on horseback. This particular group of warriors required specialized armor that would protect them while they battled their opponents on horseback or on foot. 

The best-known type of armor belonging to this group was the medieval helmet, which served many purposes in battle, not only protecting the head against lethal attacks but also sporting horns that acted as both auditory warning signals and self defense weapons for close combat encounters. 

In addition to cloaks and chainmail armor, a knight would have worn a steel skullcap fitted with an ornate metal helm when he went into battle during this period (1100s-1500s). Medieval knights wore helmets that stood on top of the head. These metal skulls would cover the head, giving protection against blows and melee attacks while still allowing the wearer to hear sounds around him. 

The helmet also sported a tortoise-shell or metal plume attached to the back or side of the helm. The purpose of these tall metal plumes was to protect a knight's face from most frontal slashes and attacks that would occur during battle, but they were also used for signaling purposes as well; knights on horseback would raise their plumes to indicate that they were attacking their target.

Helmet Types in Medieval Times

The medieval helmet is worn in combat and designed to protect the head from both arrows and sword blows. And with all the different types of helmets there are, you're sure to find one that suits your needs.

  • The Round Helmet

A very basic helmet, it is mostly used by foot soldiers and cavalrymen. The round helmet was originally made of an iron or bronze reinforced leather body. It was often made with a nose guard (and sometimes with a horn cheek piece) that protruded from the top. 

Medieval Helmet

Sometimes, the back of the helmet could have spikes attached to make it look more intimidating. This style of helmet was most often worn over chainmail armor or another type of armor.

  • Spangenhelm

This helmet is a round helmet whose body is made of individual metal plates that were hooked together and then attached to the leather cap. The plates overlap to provide maximum protection for the head. This style of helmet was very popular in England.

The steel version of this medieval helmet was used as recently as the 18th century and was often used by cavalrymen as well as foot soldiers, especially those in Italy, Germany, and France. These helmets were an important part of combat wear in the middle ages and they come in various shapes and sizes. They can also be divided into specific categories based on function.

  • Coifs

Coifs were introduced by Viking raiders who came from Viking settlements in Northern Europe between 800 and 1000 AD.

  • Bascinet


A bascinet was a close-fitting metal helmet, often with neck and chin protection, worn by soldiers during the 14th to 15th centuries. These helmets were characterized by the 'chin strap' that raised and pointed the helmet's visor.

  • Pot Helms

Pot helms are so named because they resemble a pot more than a helmet; they are round with a wide opening for the face (usually oval). The visor on these helmets lifted up like the lid on a pot, hence the name 'pot helm'. Understandably, pot helms offer most protection.

Medieval Helmet

Very few medieval helmets are found in Europe today. Most have been used as tourney props or garden ornaments rather than actual paraphernalia to protect soldiers in battle: but there has always been something very special about them…

  • Barbuta

First, a barbuta is a type of medieval helmet. It was originally created in the 13th century to protect crusaders from swords and spears. The barbuta has two main parts, each of which I will describe in turn.


The top part of the barbute is referred to as a lambrequin. The lambrequin is shaped like the letter D, with one arm coming out on either side of your head and two bumping out from your neck to cover your face and front torso from view when you put it on (think Darth Vader).

  • Kettle Helmet

Kettle Helmet

Kettle helmets were first created in 1846 by Dr. Henry Jacob Bigelow with the intention to help patients recuperate from their colds faster through steam inhalation therapy which he had been performing since 1845.

Purpose of a Medieval Helmet

Before we get into the purpose of these helmets, it's important to understand that helmets evolved over time and were worn for a variety of reasons. They could be used as status symbols and provide protection - typically against arrows rather than swords or other hand-held weapons. 

They could also be used for ceremonies, such as knighting ceremonies. That said, the primary purposes of these helmets were typically either to provide protection or to serve ceremonial purposes - usually both!

The most important purpose of a medieval helmet was to provide protection for a soldier's head in battle. Most helmets had a visor that could be lifted or lowered. There were many different types of helmets during the Medieval era, which included bascinets, skullcaps, and pot helms. These were the famous helmets of the medieval period.