Posted by Glenn Kempf on 22:51 9/9/02
In reply to: Uytai! posted by Glenn Kempf on 17:57 9/8/02
Thanks for the comments and clarifications; as far as plate tectonics are concerned, my own imaginings consist of the half-forgotten fragments of a year of college geology, combined with features blatantly ripped off from Earthly geography. :-)
With regard to Bronze Age warfare and horses: it's true that before the invention of the stirrup, fighting from horseback was difficult to do. There seem to be two main solutions: one (as you noted) was using the horse for transport to the battlefield and/or cavalry charges, followed by fighting on foot. (I have some questions of my own about the charging part: I can see riding to the battle site and dismounting, or charging into the enemy and back again to safety--but if a cavalry force charged and was then forced to dismount and fight, it seems to me that you'd have a lot of uncontrolled horses getting in the way of everyone, not too mention getting killed themselves--you could lose a lot of valuable horses that way. Maybe the fighters thought it was worth it?)
The other solution was the use of wheeled vehicles--specifically the war chariot, which provided a mobile platform that the warrior could strike from, while a second man did the driving. War chariots go back to the second or third millenium B.C. (the Hyksos' invasion of Egypt and before) and were used in Europe, the Middle East, India, and China, but they seem to have always been the vehicles of leaders and champions alone (i.e., Cuchulainn in Ireland, Arjuna in the Indian Mahabharata--with the god/avatar Krishna as his driver), both because chariots were hard to mass-produce, and the horses themselves were expensive to keep and feed on a regular basis.
Just a few thoughts...