NEWS

A helmet for a chunk of frieze?

A bronze helmet dedicated by a Greek Sicilian ruler 2,500 years ago to a famous sanctuary in Olympia may be returned to Sicily on a long-term loan, in exchange for a small bit of the Parthenon frieze, Athens said yesterday. «The Ministry of Culture has proposed that a bronze helmet from Olympia – dedicated to the Temple of Zeus by Hiero, Tyrant of Syracuse – should be exhibited at the Museum of Palermo for a specific length of time,» a ministry statement said. The Italian government has already pledged to lend Athens a 34 by 35-centimeter section of the fifth-century-BC sculptured marble frieze from the unwilling Palermo Museum in return for something good but, until yesterday, officially unspecified. The helmet, excavated 50 years ago, was part of the spoils from Hiero’s 474 BC naval victory over the Etruscans at Cumae. Some 14,000 bronze artifacts were found at Olympia, mostly dedicated to Zeus. These include another famous bronze helmet, dedicated by Miltiades of Athens following his 490 BC victory over the Persians at Marathon.