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Italy to pursue stolen ancient helmet in German courts

Italy is demanding the return of an ancient Greek helmet that it believes was looted from an archaeological site in 1993. They are following their approach taken in many successful recent cases [1], by following up their requests with legal action.

Earthtimes [2]

Italy pursues ‘stolen’ early Greek helmet in German court
Posted : Wed, 08 Dec 2010 10:47:53 GMT

Berlin – The Italian government is going to court in Berlin this week to claim an early Greek metal helmet, which it claims was stolen from an archaeological site in Italy in 1993, a court spokesman said Wednesday.

Greek-speaking trading cities existed on southern Italy’s coasts in the 7th to 6th century BC when the helmet, distinctive for its geometric style of decoration with zigzags and concentric circles, was made.

Rome is demanding the surrender of the antique helmet from the agency running Berlin’s museums and the legal executors for a private art collector who has died, the spokesman said.

Museum officials said the helmet is in a Berlin safe and at the disposal of the Berlin public prosecutor. Justice authorities seized the spherical helmet in 2003 at Rome’s request.

A city newspaper, the Tagesspiegel, said it was very rare and practically priceless. It is believed it passed through various hands before a Berlin art-dealer obtained it for his private collection.

Italy noticed the item when his assets were offered at auction after his death.

Geometric style is a mark of very old Greek pottery and metalwork.