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Peter Bosman




Location: Andalucia
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PostPosted: Sat 02 Dec, 2006 1:15 am    Post subject: Chariots of War         Reply with quote

...do those qualify as armoury?

From about 2000 - 500 BC they were THE weapon of war so they do have a point in their favour Wink

In the battle of Quadesh some 7000, zeven THOUSAND, of them were employed.

I have two questions.
1. is there an expert on chariots on MA?
2. who knows any sources for info on the Hittites and Mitanni?

Thanks,

Peter
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Dan Howard




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PostPosted: Sun 03 Dec, 2006 3:36 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I don't think anyone here would consider themselves "experts" about anything. We are but enthusiastic students Happy

If you are interested in war chariots then get ahold of anything written by Mary Littauer and Joust Crouwell.

One of the best books on the subject is "Chariot" by Arthur Cotterell.

For info regarding their use in the Bronze Age then Robert Drews has summarised a lot of the research in his book "The End of the Bronze Age"

If you have any specific questions, I could endeavour to answer a few of them.

FWIW battle chariots evolve during the time in question. During the Middle Bronze age the chariot is a light archery platform and is used as such by virtually every major power on the planet from China through the Middle East and Egypt to the Mykenaians in the Aegean. By the end of the bronze age chariots had evolved from archery platforms to the "battle taxi" described by Homer and as platforms for javelineers. During the Iron Age the chariot archer begins to move onto horseback to become a horse archer. The chariot then evolves into the heavier vehicle used for "shock" tactics. It becomes obsolete when heavy cavalry (Macedonians, Thessalians, etc) begin to perform the same function.
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Peter Bosman




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PostPosted: Sun 03 Dec, 2006 4:53 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Dan Howard wrote:
I The chariot then evolves into the heavier vehicle used for "shock" tactics. It becomes obsolete when heavy cavalry (Macedonians, Thessalians, etc) begin to perform the same function.


Thank you for the respons Dan.

History nor evolution, however they may be popularly presented, are logical nor liniar. Events seperated in time and space may or may not influance eachother and the flow of the whole.

Same thing with chariots.
Chariots already were quite distinct in both their use and construction in de battle of Qadesh (1300 BC) per example. Whereas the egyptions used fast, light vehicles as platforms to lauch arrows, the Hittites employed shockwarfare with differently constructed vehicles.
Chariots were in use right till the end of Roman rule.
The role and fate of the chariot were determained by the terrain where battle took place more than anything else.

Bronze age logistics greatly dictated the way large scale warfare was fought and this offered a lot of possibilities for the chariot.
Things changed as roman warfare develloped but the deathknell was spelled by the asian hordes and frankish mounted warriors that took over to form europe as we know it today.

It is noteworthy btw that the anatolian homeland is also where heavy cavalry first develloped. No coincidance but intertwined with the origins of agricultural society and Parsi Zorastrianism.
That is a different subject though and linked to part 2. of my question.
The Canaanite Hyksos that took the light chariot to Egypt were probably in origin the same mayannu nobility that took the chariot to Mycene. Quite distinct from the sedintary anatolians and nomadic scythic peoples. Again however not simply logical nor liniar and thus this an oversimplification.

Come to think of it, it is amazing how world history seems to have evolved around the same middle eastern region from cromagnon - neantherthal interaction right untill today.

Peter
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Dan Howard




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PostPosted: Sun 03 Dec, 2006 5:03 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Peter Bosman wrote:
Chariots already were quite distinct in both their use and construction in de battle of Qadesh (1300 BC) per example. Whereas the egyptions used fast, light vehicles as platforms to lauch arrows, the Hittites employed shockwarfare with differently constructed vehicles.
This theory has been thoroughly debunked by Richard Beal's PhD "The Organization of the Hittite Military" (University of Chicago, 1986). In it he demonstrates that the Hittite chariotry were archers just like everyone else at the time. And Littauer and Crouwel have shown through practical experimentation that it is impossible for two chariot lancers to charge one another. A spear might have been carried onboard some of these chariots but the bow was the primary weapon.

Quote:
Chariots were in use right till the end of Roman rule.
Only by the British Celts who were relatively isolated from the changes in Continental warfare. Elsewhere at the time chariots were status symbols and sport vehicles. They had no practical role in wafare. It was the introduction of the horse archer that killed the chariot archer and the introduction of the heavy cavalry that spelled the death knell for the heavy chariot. Caesar is very clear that the Celtic chariots stood no chance against his cavalry.

Quote:
The Canaanite Hyksos that took the light chariot to Egypt were probably in origin the same mayannu nobility that took the chariot to Mycene.
Mary Littauer argues very effectively that the light war chariot was not introduced to Egypt by the Hyksos but was a local invention.
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Steven H




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PostPosted: Sun 03 Dec, 2006 1:23 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

In 'Archaeology of Weapons' Oakeshott suggests that the critical element in the change from chariot to cavalry was an increase in the size of horses. Chariot using societies had smaller horses that could only be effectively used for chariot warfare and not for cavalry.

I forget the origin of the larger horses though.

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Peter Bosman




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PostPosted: Mon 04 Dec, 2006 2:25 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Steven H wrote:
In 'Archaeology of Weapons' Oakeshott suggests that the critical element in the change from chariot to cavalry was an increase in the size of horses. Chariot using societies had smaller horses that could only be effectively used for chariot warfare and not for cavalry.

I forget the origin of the larger horses though.


The problem with that is that riding may predate the chariot by 10 or even 15 thousand years.
The earliest domestication of the horse is shrouded in mystory and provides interesting problems like the gap in fossil records and lack of context for finds for some 20K years untill the first known chariot is found. By THAT time the harness is fully develloped as is a quite advanced snaffle bit.

Research to mitochodial DNA is throwing light on some aspects and does not belie the possiblity of a rope halster on the stonecarved horse head from the Lourdes region but again needs context.
A mayor problem is what CAN you find???? Unless someonse stumbles on a 15K year old wall painting of a rider or a 10K y.o. horse skeletton with kissing spine syndrom inside human dwellings, things will have to wait untill science offers more advanced techniques.

As it is we have a lot of conjecture about probabilities, a few tantalising archeological finds without context and a sure dating for the first chariot.

Peter
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Peter Bosman




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PostPosted: Mon 04 Dec, 2006 3:08 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Dan Howard wrote:
Peter Bosman wrote:
Chariots already were quite distinct in both their use and construction in de battle of Qadesh (1300 BC) per example. Whereas the egyptions used fast, light vehicles as platforms to lauch arrows, the Hittites employed shockwarfare with differently constructed vehicles.
This theory has been thoroughly debunked by Richard Beal's PhD "The Organization of the Hittite Military" (University of Chicago, 1986). In it he demonstrates that the Hittite chariotry were archers just like everyone else at the time. And Littauer and Crouwel have shown through practical experimentation that it is impossible for two chariot lancers to charge one another. A spear might have been carried onboard some of these chariots but the bow was the primary weapon.

Quote:
Chariots were in use right till the end of Roman rule.
Only by the British Celts who were relatively isolated from the changes in Continental warfare. Elsewhere at the time chariots were status symbols and sport vehicles. They had no practical role in wafare. It was the introduction of the horse archer that killed the chariot archer and the introduction of the heavy cavalry that spelled the death knell for the heavy chariot. Caesar is very clear that the Celtic chariots stood no chance against his cavalry.

Quote:
The Canaanite Hyksos that took the light chariot to Egypt were probably in origin the same mayannu nobility that took the chariot to Mycene.
Mary Littauer argues very effectively that the light war chariot was not introduced to Egypt by the Hyksos but was a local invention.


Thank you Dan.
The point I would like to make is that the Hittite chariots charged infantry. They also DID run into problems against the egyptian chariots. This however does not make it less logical that they indeed COULD have used the bow.
An aspect not yet scientifically explored is the intertwinement of sedimentary agriculture, Zorastrian beliefs and shock warfare that I find quite logical.
In a time that the whole world riding horseback used the bow (save for the numidians who threw javelin) the cavalries of zorastrian persian peoples had armour and lances. The same logic applies again.

I am not familiar with the argumentation of Mary Littauer. From another research (about how the horse reached NW-Africa) however it seems fairly certain that the Egyptians were hardly if at all familiar with the horse untill the Hyksos rode in with their chariots.
Again, I am not familiar with her work and am VERY interested to know it.

About the horse archer I am inclined to disagree it was either or and a somple matter of desplacement. Look at Darius and his campaign agianst the Scythians. They simply did not engage, just could not beat THEM!
My view is that mounted warriors and developing logistics in a developing society took the war to places where the chariot could not operate.
A good example is the non-success of the war-chariot in NW-Africa. It did get there as it was depicted at Tassili-n-Ajer but probaly was no match for the terrain and mounted cavalry already firmly establised there and adapted to this.
The depicted chariot shows the use of a composite bow egyptian style. STILL the mounted warriors stuck to throwing javelin. Not a mounted horseman in sight yet they were not succesfull. The charioteers were not beaten by the mounted men, they just could not beat THEM . Mind you this is around the time of the battle of qadesh, chariot heydays.

Interesting that is in not?! From the difficult terrain in NW-Africa which asks for agility mounted cavalry uses javelin most likely to be ULTRA-light, from sedentary persia stem armoured cavalries and from the plains and slopes from asia spread the fast but space needing bowmen on horseback.
Terrain is the keyword AGAIN.
No I do not believe the mounted bowman replaced the chariot. It simply became obsolete by the development of warfare.

Peter
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Steven H




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PostPosted: Mon 04 Dec, 2006 5:49 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Peter-
The evidence for horse riding prior to horse driving is debatable. And there is no evidence for military use of horses prior to war chariots.

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Shane Allee
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PostPosted: Mon 04 Dec, 2006 9:05 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Dan Howard wrote:


Quote:
Chariots were in use right till the end of Roman rule.
Only by the British Celts who were relatively isolated from the changes in Continental warfare. Elsewhere at the time chariots were status symbols and sport vehicles. They had no practical role in warfare. It was the introduction of the horse archer that killed the chariot archer and the introduction of the heavy cavalry that spelled the death knell for the heavy chariot. Caesar is very clear that the Celtic chariots stood no chance against his cavalry.


There is some other reason other than isolation that the British Celts continued the use of the chariot I suspect. As we study the British La Tene swords we see that they are influenced a number of times by Continental swords as you have different waves of migrations and/or invasions from the Continent. Particularly with fighting, we see how certain things were ingrained into the society and they were often time reluctant to do things differently. The bow and arrow is a prime example of this. They had it and used it for hunting, but for them it wasn't something they cared to use as a battle field weapon. They instead continued to use the sling and javelins.

Shane
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Peter Bosman




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PostPosted: Tue 05 Dec, 2006 12:50 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Steven H wrote:
Peter-
The evidence for horse riding prior to horse driving is debatable. And there is no evidence for military use of horses prior to war chariots.


That is what I wrote yes, that this is a tantalising problem, the lack of accepted PROOF. Mind the accepted Big Grin
Mind you there IS proof. Without sufficient context however it is not a shut case like the burial with chariot.
The context is develloping though. Info on the horse management from sites like Solutre and Dereivka p.e., DNA-research, molar-wear, spine-deformation, headcollar-discs, rock-art in SW-Europe and NW-Afrika, the appearance of the horse in NW-Afrika and even the search for proof of kumiss.

THE problem is explained when you ask yourself what archelogical proof one one would find on my grounds for us riding our small herd if the saddles were taken out of the picture?! NOTHING! A slightly strange age-build up of the group maybe but even that would not be outside statistics for free roaming horses.
You would find a carriage, harness, bit, irons etc. at the opposite side of the river though, where my next-door neighbour keeps his horses stabled and shod... Would this mean that in our valley we now only use carriages?

Another question. What does it indicate if the tamazight language comes up with an OLD word for rider? What means a strofe in the oldest Vedas mentioning riding the horse? Is this NOT a smoking gun?
Yes, no accepted PROOF. Yet Laughing Out Loud

Last hypothesis. What would one make of a symbol that could be interpreted as to reperesent a mounted man on a chinese oracle bone?

The finds in the chariot burial itself are already strong evidence of a long history of development....

Peter
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Dan Howard




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PostPosted: Tue 05 Dec, 2006 3:25 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Peter Bosman wrote:

I am not familiar with the argumentation of Mary Littauer. From another research (about how the horse reached NW-Africa) however it seems fairly certain that the Egyptians were hardly if at all familiar with the horse untill the Hyksos rode in with their chariots. Again, I am not familiar with her work and am VERY interested to know it.

The discovery of a skeleton at Buhen (a fortress destroyed in 1675BC) refutes this theory. Egypt had horses before the Hyksos invasion. They are likely to have had chariots also. The Egyptian word for chariot is wrrt which cannot be tied to the Hyksos language. It is uniquely Egyptian.

Quote:
About the horse archer I am inclined to disagree it was either or and a somple matter of desplacement. Look at Darius and his campaign agianst the Scythians. They simply did not engage, just could not beat THEM!

By the time of Darius the light chariot archer had long disappeared. Darius' chariots were heavier shock vehicles. These heavy chariots remained in use until heavy cavalry became readily available. I agree that cavalry is more useful than chariots in a wider variety of terrains. Cavalry is superior to chariots in many respects. That is why they supplanted chariots.


Last edited by Dan Howard on Tue 05 Dec, 2006 3:47 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Dan Howard




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PostPosted: Tue 05 Dec, 2006 3:38 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Peter Bosman wrote:
THE problem is explained when you ask yourself what archelogical proof one one would find on my grounds for us riding our small herd if the saddles were taken out of the picture?! NOTHING!
There are statues of people riding horses without saddles during the time the horse archer dominated the battlefield. It seems as if they rode them with their feet tucked up underneath similarly to how modern jockeys ride. There are also Egyptian texts describing the use of cavalry as scouts and messengers. There is also a letter dating to the 18th century suggesting that horse riding may have had a social stigma attached. This king was advised to ride a chariot or even an ass instead to preserve his dignity.
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Felix Wang




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PostPosted: Wed 06 Dec, 2006 12:48 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

To: Peter Bosman

Your previous messages have alluded to a number of pieces of evidence which I do not know about, and which you do not clearly explain or cite. Please elaborate on precisely what was found about the following, who found them, and what they are supposed to prove:

1) Horses in NW Africa. I assume this means modern Morocco and maybe Algeria. To the best of my knowledge, this was not a major site of horse breeding, nor did mounted (or chariot borne) armies arise out of these lands and overrun the Mediterranean basin. As far as I know, horse breeding and domestication are thought to have arisen further east - modern Central Asia, Iran, perhaps northern Iraq or eastern Turkey.

2) "The problem with that is that riding may predate the chariot by 10 or even 15 thousand years." Riding presupposes domestication. I assume that you know of positive evidence that horse domestication predates the first cities of Sumer? Speculation about the lack of negative evidence would not be approrpriate to support a positive assertion.

3) The first depictions of men riding in war vehicles drawn by animals (i.e. chariot like machines) are from Sumerian times; and the animals are clearly not horses. If horse domestication and riding predates the Standard of Ur by millenia, please explain why asses are pulling these proto-chariots? These finds are, I believe, fairly well dated.

4) "No I do not believe the mounted bowman replaced the chariot. It simply became obsolete by the development of warfare." Explain, please. A useful weapon becomes obsolete because a better one replaces it - flintlock muzzle-loading muskets were replaced by breech loading rifles. A useful weapon doesn't simply disappear, as long as it is useful. In the Middle Eastern lands where the chariot was used, horse archers continued to be used into early modern times; and mounted riflement were used thereafter, followed by motorized firing platforms.
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Peter Bosman




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PostPosted: Thu 07 Dec, 2006 3:33 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Buenas Felix,

The study of mitochondrial DNA has prooved that domestication of the horse was not a one-time affair with spreading of the jorse afterwards but rather the spread of knowledge adn domestication of local species-subspecies.
Also indications are that it took place WELL , as in many millenniea, before the first chariot burial.
The horse-breed that is local to NW-Africa is genetically identical to that from the iberian peninsula and endemic to these regions and not related to the eastern or northern strains.
THE problem with this is the question HOW this horse got to NW-Africa. It seems likely it was brought there by celt-iberians, implying the hores was already quite well domesticated and mounted.

I have mentioned VARIOUS findings that can be considered proof, would be considered proof if the chariot-burial and asian mounted-nomad theory were not firmly established.

The thing with history like with evolution is that it developments are NOT lineair nor sequential in time. Things are both forgotten and invented independly.
Although mainstream thinking is still leaning to 4000-5000 BC for the start of horse domestication including mounting, the view is broadening increasingly.
There ARE several artefacts that both predate and are well outside the accepted model. I alreay mentioned the Lourdes carving and cave art in Spain.

It MAY be that the horse was first domesticated in Asia and it MAY be that man started with inventing a metal bit etc. This is becoming increasingly doubtfull and new developments like the DNA-research are opening very interesting new perspectives. It could very well be that domestication first took place in SW-Europe (iberian-peninsula, southern France) and that knowledge spread EASTWARDS. This is no longer an impossibillity and in line with the likely age structure of gene-clusters.
It may however be more likely that the process started in the wake of the use as foodsource in several regions independantly and that the spark of mounting spread from SOMEWHERE.

The fact that chariot were established in the east may be explained by the the terrain.
Sociological reasons for driving rather than riding may just as well work the other way. In SW-Europa, NW-Africa driving never was a big thing whereas riding was fit for kings and reserved for nobility.
It surpises me that if ONE horse is found in Egypt that is proof for local development of the chariot but that a single artefact found near Lourdes is not accepted because of socalled lack of context. To me this is searching for evidence to match a theory and not basing a theory on the base of all availeable evidence.

My point to the lack of solid proof for riding is simply that there only CAN be circumstantial proof and circumstantial proof there is. One does not NEED a metal bit nor a harness or saddle to mount a horse so it seems rather logical to me that those are not found nor will they be if, as seems logical, these were invented specifically for driving as you DO need them for driving...

To conclude this discussion about a ongoing reseach I want to comment that for ME, and obviously AT PRESENT, the findings of discs that are explained as for headcollars are a solid a proof for riding as one will ever find untill a piece of art is found in an indisputable early context.
For ME the whole case about domestication and riding is open and not concluded in any direction although I am inclined to consider the prevailing model to be unlikely.

Peter
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Pieter B.





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PostPosted: Wed 08 Jul, 2015 7:53 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I am still a bit puzzled by the ascendancy and decline of war chariots.


They appeared in the Bronze age in Egypt, Greece, Northern India and almost every place between those points. But what kind of an advantage does a mobile archer platform such as the chariot give over more traditional infantry armies? What did the infantry armies they opposed look like? Were they spear and shield armed soldiers with archers or slingers fighting in a formation or loose bands of warriors, large armies or really tribal warbands?

Surely the chariot would have allowed humans to travel faster than ever before but they cannot scale ladders, climb up steep slopes or fight in forests. Was this the reason for their use being centered in the middle east?

Back to the pitched battle against infantry: How would chariots defeat infantry, did the speed of the chariot impart additional velocity/range unto the arrow shot from it? Could infantry not hit the chariot with it's own archers or did their shields fail to stop the arrows? Did chariots execute charge like movements to break up the formation while shooting at them from close range?


Excuse me for asking so many questions in so few lines but perhaps it enables someone to use those questions as a guideline to explaining the rise of chariots.

As for their decline.

I've heard people say it was due to smaller horses present then being unsuited for cavalry, cavalry equipment finally allowing it to overtake chariots and cultural changes.

But people have been using relatively small horses as cavalry for a really long period of time, have they not?

People such as the Numidians (and possible ancient germans) rode without saddle yet this does not seem to hamper their combat ability. I do not know much about Alexander the great but didn't his Companion cavalry ride without saddle and stirrups, using only a saddle cloth. Of course all of these soldiers were around long after chariots had kicked the bucket.

So, cultural changes then? Did people get sick of the bumpy ride? Were infantry armies competitive enough? Did iron tipped spears and arrows suddenly render the mobile archers platform useless?
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Dan Howard




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PostPosted: Wed 08 Jul, 2015 4:03 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

This is covered in detail in my book
http://www.pen-and-sword.co.uk/Bronze-Age-Mil...ent/p/3272

It can't really be satisfactorily explained here but it had nothing to do with stirrups nor the size of the horse.

It is very clear that horse archers replaced chariot archers. We even have evidence of an evolutionary development in between where the chariot has gone but the driver (now sitting directly on the horse) still controls two horses while the rider on the other horse shoots arrows.

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Pieter B.





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PostPosted: Wed 08 Jul, 2015 4:44 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Dan Howard wrote:
This is covered in detail in my book
http://www.pen-and-sword.co.uk/Bronze-Age-Mil...ent/p/3272

It can't really be satisfactorily explained here but it had nothing to do with stirrups nor the size of the horse.

It is very clear that horse archers replaced chariot archers. We even have evidence of an evolutionary development in between where the chariot has gone but the driver (now sitting directly on the horse) still controls two horses while the rider on the other horse shoots arrows.


I admit I had already considered buying it.

Is there any difference between the Kindle(eBook) and hardcover print besides the release date and the number of pages?
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Dan Howard




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PostPosted: Wed 08 Jul, 2015 4:58 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Pieter B. wrote:
Is there any difference between the Kindle(eBook) and hardcover print besides the release date and the number of pages?

No idea. I've never seen the Kindle version.

Author: Bronze Age Military Equipment, Pen and Sword Books
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Dan Howard




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PostPosted: Sat 11 Jul, 2015 7:09 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Here is one illustration showing how the Assyrians used one man to control both horses while the second rider shot a bow. It dates to the 9th century - exactly when one would expect to see a transition from chariot archers to horse archers.


This sketch might be easier to see

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Dan Howard




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PostPosted: Sat 11 Jul, 2015 7:26 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Chariots were still used for hunting during the same period. This also dates to the 9th century.


But, in warfare during this time, chariots were used more by javelin wielders and skirmshers.

Author: Bronze Age Military Equipment, Pen and Sword Books


Last edited by Dan Howard on Sat 11 Jul, 2015 7:46 pm; edited 1 time in total
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