Шлемове от османския период от фонда на Националния Археологически музей
Helmets from the Ottoman period from the NIAM-BAS storage rooms
Research topic of the present paper are four helmets from the medieval storage rooms at NIAMBAS. Three of them belong to the type referred as zirh kulah in the Ottoman sources (fig. 1 – 5). In Southeastern Europe they were mostly used during the 17th century and were called “misiurka”. Characteristic for the type are the small shallow metal plate covering the top of the skull and the mail coif attached all over it. Its popularity in the Ottoman Empire, Poland, Russia, Hungary, and the Caucasus area during the 16th – 17th century was due to the fact that the helmet effectively protected against stabs and cuts. Despite the common use of firearms, the fighting tactics, especially in cavalry, remained oldfashioned and were related to the use of cold weapons. The misiurka was perceived as a helmet for the common soldiers.
Considering the characteristics of the helmets and the way that they were acquired by the museum, it is not impossible, although not very likely, that these helmets were late, 18th – 19th century versions of this type from the area of Caucasus that were brought in Bulgaria by the wave of Circassian immigrants in the 19th century Ottoman empire. The last item certainly belongs to this type. This is a high conical helmet with a mail coif and floral decoration on the helm (fig. 6, 7). Unlike this helmet, the three misiurkas most likely belong to the classical period of their use (17th century), but their provenance is unclear considering the lack of characteristic decoration and the large distribution of this helmet type.