Military Review

War chariots of the Ancient World - a prototype of modern military equipment

War chariots of the Ancient World - a prototype of modern military equipment

War chariots ... They were used in large numbers in the countries of the Ancient World, in particular, the Ancient East - in Egypt, Assyria, Persia, Rome, Greece. Warriors on such chariots were special units that stood in front or on the flanks of the infantry. The main task of such detachments was the disorganization of the enemy troops in order to further defeat them with cavalry and infantry. And very often it was by the number of chariots that the power of the army was judged in general.

According to modern historians, the first chariots were built in 2300 BC in the territory of Mesopotamia, but no documentary evidence of these guesses exists. In addition, if you carefully consider the preserved bas-reliefs, you get the impression that in the first carriages not horses were harnessed at all, but rather donkeys. Such an assumption has the right to life, since the first horses, which were similar to the modern ones, appeared only in the second millennium BC. Already Assyrian and Egyptian warriors used horses in their chariots, their height was about 160 centimeters, and their weight was about 500 kilograms.

Heavy Assyrian Chariots

Over time, the chariot improved, there were new types of them. Soon war charters and freighters appeared. According to some historians, in addition to chariots, there were actually carts, but they were invented not only in Mesopotamia, but also in the Caucasus. But it should be noted that both the design and the names of the parts and parts were identical, which gives the right to assume that the center of their creation was the same.

As for the technology of the construction of chariots, it is constantly evolving. And if the first chariots, which appeared in Mesopotamia, were very bulky and heavy platforms, on which archers or throwers of darts were placed, in Egypt, for example, light wagons with high maneuverability were used, which were used not only for shooters, but also themselves were serious weapons.

In the ancient world, the construction of chariots was given great importance. This is evidenced, for example, by the fact that such types of wood as birch, elm, pine and ash were used for their manufacture in Egypt. But such trees do not grow in this area, and delivering them at that time was considered not an easy task.

In addition, in some localities, chariots were made to order. So, archaeologists have discovered a large number of chariots on the island of Crete (near 500 chariots). But if you carefully study the relief of the island, it becomes clear that using such a vehicle in the conditions of mountainous terrain is impossible. Therefore, according to the assumption of the German scientist G. Bokish, carts from Crete were exported to other states.

It is necessary to emphasize that the invention of chariots created a real sensation in military affairs. In fact, they became the basis of a large number of armies, while deciding the outcome of not only individual battles and battles. The fate of entire states depended on them.

Several types of chariots were known: with two wheels with one or two horses in a harness, with two or four wheels and four horses in a harness. The chariots of the ancient Greeks differed in that their body was located on low wheels. In front of the railing were located to secure the reins. The back of the carts was open. This made it possible for soldiers to drop in and jump off on the move. Such a chariot was called a Trojan. There was also a complex chariot, which was called Persian. It was much larger in size, with railings attached to each side, knives attached to the axles, and spears to the drawbar.

The most widespread use of chariots was in Egypt and the Hittite kingdom, which were in a state of constant war with each other, so they were forced to constantly improve their military power. And then, finally, came the decisive moment in their confrontation. According to some data, the decisive battle took place in the 1296 year, on the other - in 1312 BC.

By this time, at the disposal of both states were powerful armies, as well as improved types of war chariots. They played a crucial role in the outcome of the battle. The battle of Kadesh was the first battle, the course of which can be traced to the smallest details thanks to the records of the chronicler Ramses II, and also to see what role the chariots played.

The forces in both armies were about the same - by 20 thousands of soldiers and about two and a half thousand chariots on each side. They joined forces on 10, 30 and 50 chariots. The improvement of the wagons was that the wheels had already used 8 knitting needles, and the length of the axle that protruded along the edges of the wheels was significantly increased, and it was a long, sharp knife that was a formidable weapon, especially in relation to enemy infantry. Similar knives were attached to the front of the chariot. The chariot driver was driving, and a warrior from a noble family was standing near him.

There were certain differences between the chariots of the Egyptians and the Hittites, the Egyptian carts were more maneuverable, while the Hittite ones were more powerful.

And now it does not matter who won the battle, scientists are inclined to think that it ended in a draw, because later the rulers of the two states signed a non-aggression pact and provide assistance if necessary. The main thing is what role the chariots played, and how further their improvement took place. After some time, they were driven not by two, but by four, six horses. In addition, they turned into a serpent.

Historical chariots, according to historians, appeared around 479-401 BC. Their main task, in contrast to simple war chariots, was to exert a psychological effect on the enemy’s infantry during a frontal attack on defeat. It is clear that the new type of carts required the creation of a new type of troops, in which the soldiers would be fearless, were not afraid to go into direct confrontation with the enemy, even without the support of their troops.

For the first time serponosnye quadriga were used in the battle of Kunaks, which occurred between the contenders for the throne of the Achaemenid Empire by King Artaxerxes II and his brother Cyrus the Younger. It is based on the descriptions of this battle, you can imagine what this chariot looked like. She had large wheels that rotated around an axis, the length of which was designed for 4 horses. Sickles with a length of about 90 centimeters were attached to each axis. In addition, two vertical sickles were attached to the bottom of the axis.

In the future, serponosnye quadriga were used already in the battle of Daskeliok between the Persians and Greeks in 395 BC, and also in the battle of Gaugamela between Alexander the Great and Darius III.

But it should be noted that such chariots were not universal enough in battles, because they demanded a flat surface. And, in fact, they played more the role of psychological weapons, since the real losses from the use of serponosnyh quadrigs were insignificant.

Therefore, it is not surprising that over time, war chariots began to be used less and less in battles, and later they completely disappeared from the battle formations.

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  1. Deniska999
    Deniska999 9 July 2012 09: 00
    The article is good. But the Romans did not use them in hostilities, that's for sure.
    1. vvvvv
      vvvvv 9 July 2012 15: 49
      And in this small gorge a whole system of ramparts. In the lowland itself there are large shafts (mainly in thickets) and between them a type of moss, in which groundwater comes out from the hills even in dry weather ...
  2. vvvvv
    vvvvv 9 July 2012 09: 11
    It is directly stated on Wikipedia that the oldest war chariot was found on the territory of Russia (and, moreover, in the heart), specifically in Sintasht. You need to know the history of your country. Here, the wheel is considered and invented. Also, most likely the horse was harnessed for the first time. Here are the roots of all civilization. Well, in any case - Indo-European. And also the oldest ceramics in Europe - Yelshan culture - just a couple of kilometers from the place where I am writing it now ... :)
    This is, in a nutshell. Nevertheless, it is a pity that so little is written about Russia as the real homeland of civilization.
    Quote: The oldest chariot of the classical type known to scientists was discovered in the area of ​​s. Chernorechye (Chelyabinsk region), at the archaeological site of Sintashta culture, is located in the Krivoye Ozero burial ground (mound 9, m. 1), and dates from the 1th-XNUMXth centuries. BC e. [XNUMX])
    By the way, here is the territory of the "Kurgan hypothesis", although I would boldly transfer its origins to several tens of thousands of years ago ... and the time of 40 thousand BC. the graves look quite like mounds, for example, Labazy-1,2. In addition, on satellite maps, hydrological structures are clearly visible on this territory - canals connecting the river with small lakes. And hydro-reclamation, I believe, was invented here 8-10 thousand years ago ... when bow and arrow. This is not a fiction, but those who wish to come and see - can even be personally shown on the spot. :) However, it can be seen from satellite images. Another thing is that the photographs do not show ceramics (probably Elshanskaya), located there in the layer of the earth.
    1. vvvvv
      vvvvv 9 July 2012 15: 44
      A small fragment of the territory. From both banks of the river were arch. excavations from the Paleolithic to the bronze.
  3. vvvvv
    vvvvv 9 July 2012 09: 29
    But a miracle bone ... For the first time put up for review ...
    Almost completely flat ...
    1. Krasnodar
      Krasnodar 9 July 2012 12: 56
      Whose bone? And for what?
      1. vvvvv
        vvvvv 9 July 2012 14: 59
        I don’t know. Perhaps it was in the everyday life of the Mesolithic settlement, judging by the junction. Or maybe she happened to be in that place. The mammoth's scapula or pelvis is somehow not very similar. It looks like an external bone, but it is also not very similar to a fragment of a giant deer horn.
        I found one more thing there, but I'm not sure about the time of its manufacture. Like a head made of wood, with traces of the incisor clearly visible. But, unlike the Shigir idol, I don’t see any possible conditions for conservation here ... Although, if I saw a bog wood ... I’m afraid that some fisherman suffered from boredom and got it ... Damn it. If the present, then there would be no price.
  4. vvvvv
    vvvvv 9 July 2012 10: 33
    Who and for what minus ?! Maybe you should go to a psychiatrist ?!
  5. Miha_Skif
    Miha_Skif 9 July 2012 10: 48
    It is strange that the author did not talk about Scythian collapsible chariots. One of them, found in Altai in the Bubble Mounds, preserved thanks to permafrost, is exhibited in the Hermitage. Judging by the number of cave paintings depicting chariots, they were widespread throughout the Scythian space
  6. Brother Sarych
    Brother Sarych 9 July 2012 14: 23
    Donkey war chariot? You try to manage one, not just several!
    I doubt all of this - I think that all these are later notions ...
    1. vvvvv
      vvvvv 9 July 2012 15: 15
      Pets appeared, perhaps, even at the level of the times of Yelshan, Samara cultures ... And when they harnessed the horse for the first time - one can only guess. It is believed since 2011 that the oldest domestic horse found in Saudi Arabia is 9000 years old. But, we would also have to make radiocarbon on the bones of the Gorny settlement near the Kargaly mines ... Not even when and where the copper first began to melt ... It’s a pity I’m not an expert on bones, but pig hooves are abundant in layers of presumably Yelshan culture, but it is also at least 9000 years old. But there are larger bones, obviously not pigs. Another thing is that we have a study of archaeological materials and works on them are published and transmitted almost like the secret of damask ...
    2. Zhaman-Urus
      Zhaman-Urus 9 July 2012 17: 40
      In my opinion, they were mullahs or onagers.
      1. Brother Sarych
        Brother Sarych 9 July 2012 18: 27
        You might think that their character is not scary!
      2. Krasnodar
        Krasnodar 9 July 2012 22: 44
        Mullah is an interpreter of the Quran! A hybrid mare and a donkey mule called! laughing
  7. Zhaman-Urus
    Zhaman-Urus 9 July 2012 17: 37
    "But it should be noted that such chariots were not versatile enough in battles, since they required a flat surface. And, in fact, they played more the role of a psychological weapon, since the actual losses from the use of serpentine quadrigues were insignificant."

    "It should be emphasized that the invention of chariots created a real sensation in military affairs. In fact, they became the basis of a large number of armies, deciding the outcome of not only individual battles and battles. The fate of entire states depended on them."
    Don't you find some contradictions in these two paragraphs?
    To my mind the three or four examples you have given are the real use of chariots and be exhausted. It’s like beluga ZIL at a parade under the USSR, once a year the minister will go in front of the army for beauty and in the garage. Trained infantry calmly repulsed them from the side by firing from bows or scaring horses, in general there was no sense in them.
    PS And as far as I know, the Romans did not use chariots in their actions at all, they even treated the cavalry as auxiliary patrol units. And here is the feeling that the analysis was done on the basis of the game "Rome Total Var". No offense.
  8. Prometey
    Prometey 9 July 2012 23: 13
    The chariots were most likely exotic on the battlefield and could hardly have any influence on the development of military affairs, as opposed to riding a horse. I even allow a bolder statement - the role of the chariots was simply insignificant, regardless of how a number of researchers are trying to present. From a technical point of view, I can’t imagine a person in a chariot that doesn’t even have something like shock absorbers and rolls over rough terrain. Yes, and even the ancients managed to conduct targeted archery. Given that all the blows from potholes and bumps were taken by the viscera and the spine of a person, we can imagine what happened to the chariot after, say, a half-hour race on the chariot. And in all likelihood, chariots were used for trips on previously prepared and sprinkled roads, or at racetracks.
    1. vvvvv
      vvvvv 10 July 2012 00: 04
      They were created by the steppes. For example, here in our steppes of the Orenburg region there are very flat surfaces in the vast, and before there were even less artificial bumps. On a chariot, like on a cart, you can conduct an effective battle during the retreat and conduct accurate shooting in battle for special purposes. It’s good for a rider to shoot only in the movies. And swift attacks of cavalry with chariots can be effective. Moreover, given that in the same Sarmatians long-range bows had a tension of up to 100 kg ... In the Russian Federation, there is a limitation on the strength of the crossbow shoulder tension - up to 43 kg. Yes, and here mechanical tension ... Even average Sarmatian bows of 50-60 kg are an opportunity to flash several people in armor through ...
      1. Yoshkin Kot
        Yoshkin Kot 10 July 2012 10: 03
        and get there? archers should not be considered snipers, bows were usually used in large numbers, shot at squares
  9. vvvvv
    vvvvv 10 July 2012 14: 45
    Quote: Yoshkin Cat

    But are you knowledgeable enough about the accuracy of Sarmatian shooters ?!
    I gave an example of the force of tension - this can be said superhuman, with respect to modernity. And from childhood, they only lived in war and training. For example, archaeologists unearthed the grave of a girl of 14 years old, who died from a spear in her chest, and there were many old wounds, i.e. I’ve been in battles more than once. Until she kills 3 enemies, she could not get married. It is only Olympic shooters who have been training all their lives now, and before that, everyone was training like that. I tend to say that it cannot be argued that there could be no targeted shooting from chariots, for example, military commanders who did not hide in the headquarters in the rear in those days, and whose death could demoralize. One target for a dozen shooters will increase the probability of hitting.
    By the way, the fresco shows the active use of fighting dogs. How could they distinguish whom to bite ?! :)
  10. Head Physician
    Head Physician 4 November 2017 22: 03
    Informative and beautiful