The horse argument, part 1

Lars Martin Fosse lmfosse at ONLINE.NO
Thu Apr 2 16:46:42 UTC 1998

>>         You say here more than I do. Horse's bones and chariots were found
>> in Mycenian digs. But their number was fewer than expected by a simple
>> reading of epics. The remains show a great importance of the horse as a
>> prestige animal, but we don't have prooves of an actual use of chariots in
>> the warfare.
>I apologize for misinterpreting what you wrote.
>My understanding is that how chariots were used is not clear.
>Homer writes as if chariots were simply transportation (a classicist
>friend of mine called it `glorified taxis').

One of my old Classics teachers said exactly the same thing: "They come to
the battle on their chariots as if they were riding taxis." His conclusion
was that Homer knew about chariots but that he had not seen them used in
battle. The Romans used chariots too, but only for racing. Old instruments
of war sometimes end up as pure sports articles. Today, we throw spears and
shoot the bow at the Olympics, but - pace Rambo - both weapons keep a low
profile in today's warfare.

Best regars,

Lars Martin Fosse Lars Martin Fosse
Haugerudvn. 76, Leil. 114,
0674 Oslo

Tel: +47 22 32 12 19
Fax: +47 22 32 12 19
Email: lmfosse at
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