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Re: war chariots

Poster: edh@ascc01.ascc.lucent.com (Ed Hopkins)

Lord Aelfgar Greyseas writes:
> > So, to sum up. I do not claim that the ancients did not use chariots in
> > battle, merely that their effect must of necessity have been primarily
> > psychological rather than physical, and that as armies became more
> > disciplined, the chariot quickly became ineffective.

Master Malcolm MacMalcolm, answers, in part:
> OK - So if chariots were so great why did they fall out of use during the
> 8th century BC? I don't believe that it was simply that infantry just became
> more disciplined all over the world.
> My contention is that basic changes in the technology of warfare made
> chariots obsolete.
> I propose that what removed chariots from the battlefields was not
> better infantry but better cavalry.

If I understand you correctly, when you say, "I don't believe that it was
simply that infantry just became more disciplined all over the world,"
it is not the "all over the world" part that strains credulity, but the
"simply".  That is, whatever technique finally countered chariots would
naturally spread quickly (and must have spread quickly, since chariots
_did_ suddenly become obsolete, but if that technique were a simple
matter of disciplining troops, it would have been hit upon during the
thousand years that chariots reigned supreme.

But consider this: You are in charge of the defense of a Bronze Age
city-state.  There has never been a disciplined army in the history
of the world.  To your knowledge, it's always been chariots that have
decided a battle.  What could persuade you to divert your defense funds
from charioteering to the expenses involved with pulling the farmers out
of the fields to do drills?  And how would you know what specific
techniques to drill the soldiers in?  What would you say to your
troops to get them to stand fast against the approaching chariots?
(Remember you can't tell them it's ever worked before).

I suggest that this might not be as simple as it seems in hindsight.

-- Alfredo
Alfredo el Bufon
Elvegast, Windmaster's Hill, Atlantia

We're Capulets,
Capulets all the way,
>From our first cigarette
To our last dying day.

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