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The End of the War Chariot I

Weapons and Warfare

He advanced against me intent on combat. I defeated him, I shattered his warriors, 3,000 of whom I slew. With their blood I filled the wide plain. His arms, his royal treasure, his cavalry, I took away from him. To save his life he climbed a steep mountain … Over the plain I thundered like Adad, the storm god. Now my harsh rule is established over Urartu.

Assyrian inscription

The first blow to the chariot’s supremacy as a war machine fell in the eastern Mediterranean during the twelfth century BC. This setback was inextricably bound up with the widespread destruction then visited upon cities throughout the region, a catastrophe usually blamed on the so-called Sea Peoples. The name was coined in the late nineteenth century to refer to the invaders from across the sea described by Ramesses III (1198–1166 BC) in his account of their repulse from Egypt. Yet it…

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