chariots (was: AIT, NEW genetic evidence)

Georg von Simson g.v.simson at EAST.UIO.NO
Fri Mar 10 10:07:33 UTC 2000

Rajarshi Banerjee wrote:
>RB> Many thanks to MW and SM, I finally checked out sparebooms book.
>depiction of relistic chariots in India is indeed very rare.
>Slightly later??, well the sanchi chariots are atleast a millenia later than
>the vedic chariot as the author himself says. There is also some rock art
>from MP depicting chariots which cannot be reliabaly dated. Sparreboom alo
>notes that unlike the near east where chariots are were used in large
>numbers for tactical warfare in the defence of large city states or empires,
>the vedic chariots role and manner of use can only be conjectured at. He
>highlights their use in rituals and cattle raids. At later times their
>presence in rituals is just symbolic.
In the battle description of the Mahabharata the chariot troops are still
the main force of the army, and all the major heroes fight from chariots.
they (almost) never are riding on horse-back (though horse-riders are one
of the four branches of the army) and there are only a few instances where
a king is riding on an elephant. The chariot as the most important weapon
probably was an anachronism at the time when the younger layers of the epic
were composed, but what about the time when the Mahabharata started (let us
say around the middle of the first millennium BCE - I am not talking about
the Mahabharata war as a historical event, but about the epic poem)? At
least the memory of the importance of the chariot seems to have been strong
throughout the history of the epic.

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