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Chariot: From Chariot to Tank, the Astounding Rise and Fall of the World's First War Machineby Arthur Cotterell
Synopses & Reviews
A cross-cultural study of chariot warfare detailing the chariot's use as a war machine right across the Old World, from Ireland to Korea as well as its ceremonial and religious use in the days of early Mesopotamia right up to twentieth-century filmmakers.
"This dense but readable scholarly study summarizes the chariot's history from its disputed origins in Europe and Asia more than 4000 years ago to its continued life on the wide screen. British scholar Cotterell (The Minoan World) reveals the workings of a vehicle that was, throughout its history, primarily a platform for archers (although halberds and spears were not unknown). In its mature form, it required three developments — the spoked wheel (lighter than the solid one), the powerful compound bow and the domesticated horse (faster than oxen, more powerful than the ass). As it developed, it also represented some of the most sophisticated Bronze Age technology — some Egyptian chariots are known to have weighed less than 60 pounds — and the charioteer was one of the earliest examples of a warrior elite selected for skill rather than birth. The author is cheerfully discursive about chariots in the Homeric and Hindu epics, and has provided a lavish array of illustrations so that practically nothing mentioned is left undepicted; it's not light reading at any point but informative throughout. The eventual demise of the chariot (more or less paralleling the decline of Rome), he shows, arose from improved infantry weapons, tactics that could cripple, or at least deter, horses, and cavalry that could move on rougher ground. (June)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
Rich in historical anecdote and narrative, "Chariot offers riveting descriptions of the military confrontations in which the deployment of chariots heavily influenced the outcome of outcome of battles and changed the fates of countries and empires.
About the Author
Arthur Cotterell combines a career in education with an extensive background in ancient civilizations.
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