The Bascinet was a type of helmet used in warfare during the medieval ages. Although many different types of helmets were used throughout the medieval ages, the bascinet was unique due to its singular shape. The earliest recorded use of the bascinet dates back to 13th century Italy.
It is believed that it evolved from the earlier and more rudimentary iron skull and its design was influenced by Eastern culture, possibly Byzantine or Muslim. It became immensely popular in warfare during the 14th and 15th centuries but towards the end of the 15th century, the bascinet was rapidly replaced with other forms of face-protecting armour.
The earliest use of the bascinet, as recorded in extant historical sources, dates back to 1281. Since the shape and design of the bascinet was significantly different from the previously used iron skullcap in Europe, it is believed that it was influenced by Eastern cultures.
Significant evolution of the 13th century bascinet took place in the 14th and 15th centuries. Most of these changes were concerned with the protecting not just the head but the face and the neck as well. Bascinet continued to be popular in warfare until it was replaced by lighter types of helmets in the second half of the 15th century.
The Bascinet helmet underwent many changes from a rudimentary design to a more advanced design from the 13th to 15th centuries. The earliest bascinet was different from a skullcap because it had a high and pointed skull. In the 14th century, the shape of the bascinet was extended so that it came to cover and protect the neck as well.
Staples used on the bascinet was used to fit camail with it so that the wearer’s face and front of the neck were covered as well and protected. Many versions of bascinet employed different types of fittings. These included a klappvisor, which covered the front of the bascinet and effectively shielded the face from any blows.
The great bascinet was a later type of bascinet which evolved when the conical and pointed of the helmet gave way to a more rounded shape. It was built together with a rounded visor. Although it had a very strong construction, the great bascinet was problematic in that it offered very limited mobility to the wearer. Consequently the knights who used the great bascinet couldn’t turn their head around and were encumbered in their movements.
The earliest use of bascinet is traced back to 13th century Italy. By the 14th century, the bascinet had already become a popular part of the knightly armour in most regions of Europe. It was extensively used by the French and English knights during the Hundred Years’ War.
Throughout the 14th and early 15th centuries, the bascinet helmet was among the most popular and recognisable part of a knight’s armour. However, lighter variations of bascinet were also being used by infantrymen and common citizens when fighting in the wars. By the second half of the 15th century, bascinet’s usage began to decline rapidly and other, lighter, forms of helmets began to be used by the European armies.