A Bronze Helmet from the Time of Neco

Photo: Greek Bronze Helmet

Credit: Photo courtesy Israel Antiquities Authority.



Archaeologists have found a Greek bronze helmet covered with gold leaf that is 2,600-year-old. The bronze helmet probably belonged to a Greek mercenary who fought with Neco, a pharaoh of Egypt.  The helmet was discovered in the waters of Haifa Bay, in Israel.

Neco (his name also appears as Necho in some translations of the Bible), was a pharaoh of the 26th Dynasty (Saite).  He ruled from 609 to 595 B.C. Neco appears in the Hebrew Bible as the one who caused the death of Josiah, king of Judah, at Megiddo in 609 (see 2 Kgs. 23:28–30; 2 Chr. 35:20–27).

During the struggle between Babylon and Assyria in the late 7th century B.C., Neco took the side of Assyria in its effort to stop the rise of Babylon.

Below is an excerpt from an article about the bronze helmet that was published in Live Science:

A Greek bronze helmet, covered with gold leaf and decorated with snakes, lions and a peacock’s tail (or palmette), has been discovered in the waters of Haifa Bay in Israel. But how this helmet ended up at the bottom of the bay is a mystery.

The helmet dates back around 2,600 years and likely belonged to a wealthy Greek mercenary who took part in a series of wars, immortalized in the Bible, which ravaged the region at that time. Archaeologists believe that he likely fought for an Egyptian pharaoh named Necho II.

This warrior was likely one of Egyptian pharaoh Necho II’s troops, which he sent through Israel accompanied by a fleet of ancient ships. The pharaoh was heavily involved in military campaigns in the region for nearly a decade, operations in which this warrior and his group likely were involved. [Photos: Amazing Egyptian Discoveries]

The series of wars engulfed Egypt, Judah (a Jewish kingdom), Assyria and Babylon, with Necho II of Egypt intervening on the side of Assyria.

The end result of these conflicts was the conquest of Judah and the rise of a resurgent Babylon led by King Nebuchadnezzar II. These events would be immortalized in the [Hebrew Bible]

You can read the article in its entirety at Live Science.

Claude Mariottini
Professor of Old Testament
Northern Baptist Seminary


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2 Responses to A Bronze Helmet from the Time of Neco

  1. nancy hamilton says:

    Prof Mariottini ~ Just had to share how God’s timing is so powerful sometimes.

    My friend just found your news posted today about the ancient helmet of a Greek mercenary involved in the battles with Pharaoh Neco and sent it to me.

    WE are just finishing up a many months long study of Jeremiah with Precept Ministries (Kay Arthur) and were digging through chapter 46 this week…God’s judgment on Egypt & Pharaoh Necho.

    Would love to know the story background of how it got there and who lost it 🙂

    God bless your work to bring His truth to those who seek to serve Him – His WORD is so rich and full – a lifetime isn’t enough to plumb it’s depths (or the One who gave it to us!)

    in Christ….nancy (bellingham, wa)


    • Claude Mariottini says:


      God is amazing. He opens doors just at the right time so that we can experience his blessings.

      I am so glad that you are studying Jeremiah. Jeremiah is my favorite prophet. If you search my blog you will discover that I have written many posts on Jeremiah.

      Welcome to my blog and I hope you will visit often.

      Claude Mariottini


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