In the Middle Ages, hand-to-hand warfare was fairly commonplace. This was mainly a matter of hacking at the enemy with sword or axe. At such times, it was best to be well protected against such vicious, close-range weapons.

The most vulnerable part of the body was the head, so this was the most heavily armoured.

In the 13th century the great helm came into its own. Basically the great helm consisted of a hollow cylinder of metal, covered at the crown.

To help the wearers withstand the crushing blows of heavy war axes and swords, these helmets were made of thick metal. They weighed on average some 7 kilograms (15 pounds). Learning to fight while carrying such a weight on the head was an essential part of knightly training.

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