Cavalry helmet designed by Lord Byron

Contributed by Newstead Abbey

Cavalry helmet designed by Lord Byron

In 1823 the people of Greece were fighting a War of Independence from Turkish rule. Lord Byron supported the patriots in their struggle for freedom, bringing arms and medical supplies bought with his own money. He also maintained an army of 500 mercenaries from his personal funds and formed an artillery brigade from the many foreign volunteers from Europe and America who had come to Greece to help fight the War. However, despite Byron's efforts to unite them, the Greek leaders plotted against each other and these internal rivalries badly weakened their campaign against the Turks. When he died from fever in April 1824, Byron was celebrated world-wide as a martyr to the cause of liberty. Byron remains a hero of the Greek nation and this helmet, the design of which he based upon descriptions of armour in Homer's Iliad, has become a symbol of liberty.

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