The domestication of the horse revolutionized warfare, granting unprecedented strategic and tactical mobility, allowing armies to strike with terrifying speed. The horse was first used as the motive force for chariots and then, in a second revolution, as mounts for the first true cavalry. The period covered encompasses the development of the first clumsy ass-drawn chariots in Sumer (of which the author built and tested a working replica for the BBC); takes in the golden age of chariot warfare resulting from the arrival of the domesticated horse and the spoked wheel, then continues down through the development of the first regular cavalry force by the Assyrians and on to their eventual overthrow by an alliance of Medes and the Scythians, wild semi-nomadic horsemen from the Eurasian steppe. As well as narrating the rise of the mounted arm through campaigns and battles, Duncan Noble draws on all his vast experience as a horseman and experimental archaeologist to discuss with great authority the development of horsemanship, horse management and training and the significant developments in horse harness and saddles.
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