Friday, January 02, 2015

Word of the Day -- Morion

A morion is a type of open helmet used from the middle 16th and early 17th centuries, usually having a flat brim and a crest from front to back. Its introduction was contemporaneous with the exploration of North, Central, and South America. Explorers like Hernando de Soto and Coronado may have
supplied them to their foot soldiers in the 1540s.

The crest or comb on the top of the helmet was designed to strengthen it. Later versions also had cheek guards and even removable faceplates to protect the soldier from sword cuts.

The morion's shape is derived from that of an older helmet, the Chapel de Fer, or "Kettle Hat." Other sources suggest it was based on Moorish armor and its name is derived from Moro, the Spanish word for Moor. The New Oxford American Dictionary, however, derives it from Spanish morrión, from morro 'round object'. The Dictionary of the Spanish Language published by the Royal Spanish Academy indicates that the Spanish term for the helmet, morrión, derives from the noun morra, which means "the upper part of the head".

In England this helmet (also known as the pikeman's pot) is associated with the New Model Army, one of the first professional militaries. It was worn by pikemen, together with a breastplate and buff coat as they stood in phalanx-like pike and shot formations, protecting the flanks of the unarmored musketeers.

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