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Burgonet (also known as the Burginot)
Time Period: 16th century
Location: Europe
Common Construction: Steel

The burgonet became the most popular helmet in Europe in the 16th century, replacing both the sallet and the barbute. It was worn universally by both foot soldiers and kings, and varied greatly in style based on both region and time period.

The burgonet returned to an open faced design and was heavily influenced by the Italian Renaissance and the barbute. It allowed nearly unrestricted vision and easy breathing, while still protecting the majority of the head. Hinged plates protected the cheeks and a collar protected the neck. The helmet weighed between 3 and 5 pounds.

Most burgonets were forged from a single piece of steel. A visor was drawn out above the eyes to shield the wearer from the sun and rain. A central ridge called a comb typically ran the length of the helmet to provide increased structural strength.

If the wearer required face protection, some helmets provided the ability to attach a buffe, which covered the throat and face. If face protection was permanently attached to the helmet it was called a closed burgonet. The most recognizable closed burgonet is the Death's Head helmet in which the face plate was fashioned to look like a skull.

As a Renaissance helmet, the burgonet was an art form as much as it was armor. Many burgonets feature decorative work and some helmets were so elaborate as to be rendered unsafe for use on the battlefield.

The burgonet survived as a helmet in various forms until the widespread use of firearms in the 17th century. As an infantry helmet it was replaced by the morion and cabasset, but it continued to be used by cavalry until armor was discarded altogether. Some burgonet's were made to withstand musket fire, but they were so heavy that the original advantages of the burgonet were all but lost.

Armor, CE 16th Century, Helmet, History, Medieval Europe


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