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Thread: Mycenaean Chariot

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    JP Vieira
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    Mycenaean Chariot

    Hello
    The Mycenaeans occupied most of Greece form the 17th century BC to the 12th century BC.
    One of there most effective weapon was the chariot.
    The Mycenaean chariot suffer an evolution thorough the period; one of those chariots was the dual chariot, that used two warriors.: a driver and a fighting man.
    There is much controversy has were the driver wore armour or whether the fighting man was a archer or a spearman.
    In this illustration we chose to portray the driver unarmoured and the fighting man as a spearman, although we must admit that it could have been different.
    This chariot was used in the 16th century BC.


    Best regards

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    VetLegion
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    The controversy should be about where in Greece you could effectively use a chariot in combat. It's an incredibly hilly and mountainous country. Not at all like Egypt and Mesopotamia where these things excel.


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    VetLegion
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    And two technical comments. The mechanism that chariots used for absorbing shocks is very important and I would like to see it in more detail. It would be impossible to aim in a chariot that had no amortisation, yet there were no springs back in the day. How was that solved?

    Another thing is the horse harness. Is the one in your image true to the one actually used? There were different ones used through the ages, first those that transferred more weight to the horse's neck, then those transferring more to the horse's breast/shoulders.

    Don't take that as criticism, I'm just thinking out loud. Nice image overall

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    BeBro
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    Just curious, I'm a gfx guy myself, and so I'm always interested in the technical details. How do you make these pics, traditionally on paper, then scanning them (from the sig it looks like this) or with some gfx software.
    Banana

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    Kuciwalker
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    Well, it looks like the wheels were done in a 3D program, and perhaps the rest of the chariot too.

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    BeBro
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    Yeah. If the horses were also done in 3d I'd have to say they're excellent (I mean they look good anyway, but modeling and texturing something like them in 3d is quite a task). But the two warriors don't look like made from 3d models.
    Banana

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    lord of the mark
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    Originally posted by VetLegion
    It would be impossible to aim in a chariot that had no amortisation, yet there were no springs back in the day.
    How well do you have to aim? You have a big body of chariots, you use your mobility to come in fairly close (though still out of range of melee weapons) you loose a vast number of arrows on clumped infantry, then you pull back for the next pass. No?

    If the infantry doesnt clump, but spreads out to make a more difficult archery target, you run them over, using the chariots for shock. When they finally develop good enough infantry weapons that even relatively small groups of infantry can take you down, then you give up on the chariots.

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    VetLegion
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    Shooting while stopped would work as a tactic. The reason I am mentioning shock absorbing is because those wheels are made of wood (no rubber) which means that those driving in the chariot would feel literally every pebble they crossed over well enough to remember it

    I remember reading about suspension being made from leather among other things. This provided some amortisation. However, it was sensitive to moisture. One theory has it that the reason Egyptians couldn't pursue Israelites further than Red Sea was because the leather in their chariots' wheels and suspension got wet and lost mechanical properties, in essence the chariots fell apart.

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    JP Vieira
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    Hello
    Trying to answer some of the question raised here:
    the use of the chariot is also, indeed, one of the controversies surrounding the chariot in Greece: was it use by spearmen (as a cavalry charge), was a missile platform or was it a "battle-taxi" used only to transport warriors to and form the battlefield?
    I use a 3d program to do the chariot then imported it to Photoshop where I had scanned the horses and human figures and painted all of it.
    Best regards
    More replies later on

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    Theben
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    IIRC the Celts used some sort of rope webbing for shock absorption, suspending the riding cart. Perhaps the Mycenaeans did also.
    I'm consitently stupid- Japher
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    JP Vieira
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    The wheels would be covered with a metal ring, (althought I did not represent it) to help mantian their strenght.
    As for shock absorbants I do not know what the Mycenaeans used...

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    Vesayen
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    The "unarmored" man has a longsword. The Myceans did not have longswords, they did not even exist at the time.

    Likewise, the harness used on the horse seems REALLY iffy, I do not think harnesses of that style existed then. Way to similar to modern harnesses. Might sound stupid but certain sorts of harnesses for horses are a big technological step, if it was simple and obvious then plows would of been invented far earlier. He should have a shortsword, a spear, or perhaps javelins.

    Pictures and drawings I have seen of chariots from the period usually have the driver in the middle with a 3 man team, or on the far right. I do not know why this is, or if it is historically accurate.

    Nitpicking is fun! Just kidding heh. Nice artwork though.
    Last edited by Vesayen; October 3, 2007 at 00:35.

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    JP Vieira
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    Hello
    Vesayen: The term longsword used must not confuse us: this is not the longsword of medieval times; it is in fact a type of sword of this period (perhaps even a little earlier).
    the harness for the horses are based on the art the Mycenaean left us; as such it can be not very accurate or lacking some elements; only by practical experiments could we replicate the type of harness needed for this chariot.
    Thank you for your reply and comment on my work.
    Best regards
    JP Vieira

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    Dr Strangelove
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    Chariots were generally used primarily as battlefield taxis. Warriors didn't fight from them, but instead were transported to the enemy's flank or rear and dropped off. Mounted spearmen would probably have made shorty work of them and I believe that in fact that when cavalry made its appearence chariots disappeared.
    "I say shoot'em all and let God sort it out in the end!

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    JP Vieira
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    The disappearance of chariots was more of a consequence of the desegregation of many states and their centralized organization that permitted to maintain such an expensive force.
    Of course, after some of those states recovered the use of the horse was seen in a different more practical way (as mounts for the cavalry).

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    Dr Strangelove
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    Desegregation? You mean they couldn't make black people drive the chariots for them anymore?
    "I say shoot'em all and let God sort it out in the end!

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    JP Vieira
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    You know I mean to (dis) aggregation , to tear apart.

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    If one looks at the use the Persians made of chariots, for example at Gaugamela, at least the later chariots were more than batlefield taxis, but rather seem to be used like Elephants as a shock weapon against infantry
    As part of your equipment, you are to have a trowel, and when you squat outside, you are to scrape a hole with it and then turn and cover your excrement.
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    Seems to have been many types of chariots.

    In the Iliad, and vs Caesar in Britain, we have the 'taxi', basically a fancy taxi. Elite warriors use them to travel to the battlefield with heavy equipment.

    At Kadesh Egypt vs ??? we have the rarely seen 'charging' style of chariot, probably heavy and more shock absorbant??

    Also in the bible, the Iron Wheeled chariots that Jehovah has so much trouble with seem the 'charging' type.

    The Macedonians and Romans faced a type which seems to have been an evolution of the old charging type, lighter but with big projecting blades, the Scythed chariot. As far as I know it was totally ineffective except against peasant masses?

    Interesting, in China there were also chariots at some point but I don't know much about 'em.

    The Mahabharata, the Indian national epic famous for its UFOs, also describes a strange type of warfare in which nameless soldiers ride elephants, and aristocrats ride huge numbers of chariots, fighting with the bow, and the bow is esteemed as a 'nobility weapon'. Arjuna, Duryodhana, etc. They fought dismounted only in emergencies with maces. Duels were fought by archers in moving chariots, with drivers. The aristocrats wore very heavy bronze armour similar to that in the Iliad.
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    JP Vieira
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    Many civilizations used the chariot in battle in many different ways: as a mean of transportation, as a shock vehicle or a missile platform.
    As said before, some argue that the Mycenaeans used it as a missile platform and that the warrior was in fact an archer.

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    Dr Strangelove
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    Originally posted by JP Vieira
    You know I mean to (dis) aggregation , to tear apart.
    Disintegration would probably have been a better choice.
    "I say shoot'em all and let God sort it out in the end!

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    Dr Strangelove
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    I still think if you had 100 standing archers vs 100 chariot riding archers the standing archers would win. It's got to be more difficult to hit a target from a moving chariot, though if you're aiming at a mass of people that might make a difference. The chariot is bigger though. If you hit the horse the horse is likely to become uncontrollable. It would also be more difficult to concentrate the chariot archers to achieve a massed fire effect.

    Regarding shock effect I've read a number of sources on military tactics stating that horses could not be used to reliably run down troops in massed formation. The horses perceive the formation as a large solid object and veer away from the formation. OTOH in ancient time troops often fought in loose formations and once they met the enemy dissolved into a mass of individual combats. The Greeks and Romans seem to have been the ones who most understood the numerous benefits of fighting as a unified mass.
    "I say shoot'em all and let God sort it out in the end!

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    JP Vieira
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    Although the word does not exist, I think that (dis) aggregation translates better what I meant: that these states did not cease to exist, they just suffer some partition (some did cease to exist other like Egypt continue to exist and then made a “comeback).
    The effectiveness of a charging chariot (or cavalry) has more to do with the morale and discipline of the attacked than that of the attackers: if the infantry does not (psychologically) stand and run away then a chariot (or cavalry) will win.
    Last edited by JP Vieira; October 20, 2007 at 04:24.

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    Yep.
    And if it is disciplined enough, it has good chances to defeat the charge, as you also saw in the medieval period in the successes of the swiss Reisläufer against cavalry charges of knights, thanks to their discipline and phalanx tactice, which (later combined with fire arms) more or less put an end to the cavalry domination on medieval battlefields.
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    JP Vieira
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    Many battles were decided on that single factor: the way the defendesr could stand their ground against attacking horsemen

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    Dr Strangelove
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    Egyptian infantry at this time were largely conscripted militia, often armed with nothing but wooden farm tools.
    "I say shoot'em all and let God sort it out in the end!

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