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"Mycenian chariots - a taxi service?" Topic

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Paskal Supporting Member of TMP25 Sep 2017 11:07 p.m. PST

Mycenaean chariots Ė a taxi service?

So from about 1350 BC. Some Greek noblemen would have been mounted on chariots which were no longer battle chariots as in the East or in Africa, but transport chariots …

These types of chariots , known as ' railchariots ', had appeared during the 13th century BC. BC and would eventually have replaced the previous types.

They consisted only of a platform and a rail …

These chariots were certainly the result of a major change in the chariots tactics, if not of the military organization in general.

It seems therefore highly probable that their crews would descend to land more easily than the crews of the more ancient chariots types of the Aegean world, and they corresponded to most of the descriptions of the chariots tactics contained in the Iliad.

These models thus probably mark the transition between battle chariots tactics and transport chariots , a gradual process occurring in some states before others and perhaps still incomplete at the time of the Trojan War, which could the meaning of certain confused descriptions existing in the Iliad.

The chariots in the Iliad were therefore not used for massive charges, but simply to carry the heroes to the front line where they fought on foot.

For me it is hard to believe that the chariots were used in this way so soon after the great battle of chariots of Kadesh between Hittites and Egyptians …

Thus an inventory found in the arsenal of Knossos in Crete lists 340 cases of chariots and 1000 pairs of wheels.

These were hardly used to bring the nobility into the front line.

Indeed the ratio of five to six wheels for each case implies that these chariots were intended for a service more severe than that of taxi.

They had to be used for combat.

The insular Bretons also used their chariots as taxis.

But it was at a time when the chariots had become obsolete.

Was this the case at the time of the Trojan War?

Personal logo Cacique Caribe Supporting Member of TMP25 Sep 2017 11:30 p.m. PST

Maybe it was more like Uber for some. :)


Sobieski Inactive Member26 Sep 2017 1:52 a.m. PST

Look up Peter Greenhalgh's book on the subject. I think he laid that one to rest decades ago.

VVV reply Inactive Member26 Sep 2017 3:30 a.m. PST

Well the traditional role of the chariot was as a missile platform, The Egyptian chariot ran around shooting arrows. So adding a bit of mobility to your firepower. But the there were various countries where chariots were battle taxis for champions, Ireland being a case in point.

Personal logo Dervel Supporting Member of TMP Fezian26 Sep 2017 4:17 a.m. PST

In Triumph rules for ancients there are two styles of Chariots represented.

The missile platform called "Chariots" (Egyptian, Indian, Hittite…)

Battle Taxis, actually called "Battle Taxi" (Ancient British, Trojan or Mycenaean….)

They work differently on the battlefield in the way they interact with different enemy troops.

Personal logo Jlundberg Supporting Member of TMP26 Sep 2017 4:26 a.m. PST

Certainly the Illiad describes them as battle taxis. Good for keeping your superstar warriors with heavy armor fresh. Also good for running away when needed. Guys in loincloths can ditch their giant shield and spears and run quite well. Your Lord in giant bronze armor is not going to be so easily shed of it nor would he want to lose equipment that was so valuable.


Frederick Supporting Member of TMP26 Sep 2017 6:02 a.m. PST

Not to mention that the role of chariots evolved as horses evolved – the first animals pulling chariots were pretty small and pretty slow

Winston Smith Supporting Member of TMP26 Sep 2017 9:04 a.m. PST

The spare wheels could have been just that. Spare wheels.

Winston Smith Supporting Member of TMP26 Sep 2017 9:06 a.m. PST

If only Homer could have known that his poems would be consulted as if they were military manuals!

Personal logo Jlundberg Supporting Member of TMP26 Sep 2017 10:31 a.m. PST

While I get that Homer was approximately 500 years after the event, oral traditions in preliterate societies were pretty strong. As the stories were told, if the details were outrageous, they would have been changed to fit reality. I am comfortable that at some point the Greeks used chariots as battle taxis. Our crowd scoffs at "fake Tigers" in otherwise hokey movies like Kelly's Heroes. I have no doubt that our forebears would have called a bard on a misrepresentation of combat.
I do challenge the notion that combat proceeds as laid out in military manuals. Look how often an NFL play breaks down due to misunderstanding and magnify that across a battlefield. That is why the US planning cycle puts a lot of emphasis on the commander's intent – so subordinates can improvise while still working towards the same goal

rmaker26 Sep 2017 4:02 p.m. PST

There is also the fact that until the development of the horse collar, horse-drawn chariots were quite inefficient. The kinds of speeds most Ancients rules posit would have resulted in heaps of strangled horse flesh.

Paskal Supporting Member of TMP27 Sep 2017 11:13 p.m. PST

Bravo Winston Smith, very well seen …

But homer also had to be a military historian because he also describes things that no longer exist at his time …

Paskal Supporting Member of TMP22 Oct 2017 11:40 a.m. PST

Moreover, it seems that HomÍre did not write the Iliade and the odyssey alone …

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