Looking Back / Summer 2005
Time Traveller

14th-century helmet was worn by Turkish archer


I have a friend who moans that he lives in the wrong age. Devouring science fiction books describing space flights and string theory, he dreams of flying a car from Toronto to England and vacationing on Mars – but knows he will not be alive to savour this strange future.

Photo by Michael VisserIn Hart House, this warrior’s headgear has survived from another era. The helmet, most likely from the 14th century, was worn by a Turkish archer (quite possibly a Christian slave) who served in the Imperial Guard. The Turkish consulate donated the helmet to U of T in the 1970s to serve as a Hart House Archery Club trophy. Today, the names of the Best Instinctive Archers are engraved along the foundation of its case.

The helmet, which once stared out on ancient battlefields, now stares placidly at the undulating screen of a computer in the main office. Perhaps, unlike my friend, savouring the strange excitement of the past.


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