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2 Strategy Questions

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  • #16
    Nobody is sure exactly when the stirrup started being used in Europe. They were in use by the 9th century AD, and was possibly known of a bit earlier, though it was definitely not in common use. Some believe that stirrups were used by 5th century cavalry in the Byzantine army, but there's no conclusive proof of that. We know that the Goths had very effective cavalry before then without stirrups (they beat the Romans at Adrianople in 378 AD), so it isn't a necessary development for armored and mounted warriors - you can have heavy knights without it, but they would not have been able to effectively wield large lances (which are useful if you want to attack infantry without them cutting your horse's legs out from under you).

    As to chain mail, that's the type of mail frequently used by Charlemagne's paladin's hauberks.

    One very important technological development that would be interesting to see modeled in future Civ games is the rigid ox collar. Prior to it's invention, oxen weren't used very much for plowing or pulling large wagons because the harnesses would strangle the beasts. An ox could pull about 5 times the load a human could pull without this problem - but an ox also needed about 5 times as much food as a human. Therefore, for the type of labor that animal power was used for in later times it was easier to use humans, since they were more easily trained. Because humans were used in great numbers for stuff like pulling plows and wagons, there was a high demand for slaves, and most of the world's population was basically livestock. The wooden ox-collar allowed an ox to pull twice as much, which made them much more efficient than humans, so slaves were only needed for jobs that required human intelligence and dexterity. This radically changed the nature of society.


    • #17
      Actually, there's one more thing about why chariots came before horsemen. Horses back then were NOT able to withstand the weight of a human being on their back, at least not common. Those were still pretty wild horses, and were domesticated not too long ago. The reason they use chariots is because nobody can ride them -- the backs break (imagine having someone on YOUR back and you have to crawl at a very fast pace with the guy going up and down). It was not until much later (not sure exactly when) when horses were selectively bred enough times so they can take the human weight.

      I'm sure by 200 BC China used calvary extensively, so it must have been before that when it happened. I also suspect different breeds of horses have different devleopment times, so what applies to China might not apply to the West. Stirrup certainly makes things easier, but I doubt if it's enough to stop those determined (and good at) riding horses anyway.


      • #18
        I'll buy 500 AD rather than 900 for the Cataphracts. Also, the necessity of breeding stronger horses may be true, though horse units were common enough by the Iron Age to make obsolescent the chariots of the Bronze Age. All I was really saying was that chariots came first historically, and that is reflected in Civ 3. The stirrup is not necessary, but enhances the impact power and combat capability of the rider. The plains Indians did quite well without it in small unit actions and the "Germans" on the Roman borders presented quite a challenge to the Empire at its height, also without stirrups.
        No matter where you go, there you are. - Buckaroo Banzai
        "I played it [Civilization] for three months and then realised I hadn't done any work. In the end, I had to delete all the saved files and smash the CD." Iain Banks, author


        • #19
          Actually, horses were the second animals to be domesticated (after dogs), long before they were used for pulling chariots - they were the first domesticated food animal, in Europe at least. They had already been bred for size by the time they started using them as beasts of burden, to get more meat out of them. There are some modern breeds that are used for riding that are smaller than the early breeds.

          Considering that people were much smaller then too, I'm sure that early domesticated horses could have been used for horseback riding - probably the idea you could ride on ones back was overlooked or considered just too dangerous to be practical.