Egyptian Warfare > Hittite Chariot

Hittite Chariot


The Hittite chariot was a key component of the military arsenal of the Hittite Empire during the late Bronze Age, roughly between the 17th and 12th centuries BCE. Similar in design to other ancient Near Eastern chariots, the Hittite chariot was a two-wheeled, horse-drawn vehicle specifically adapted for warfare. Here's a description of a Hittite chariot:

  1. Construction:

    • The Hittite chariot was primarily constructed from wood, with a lightweight yet sturdy frame designed for maneuverability on the battlefield.
    • The chariot featured two large spoked wheels, typically made from wood and reinforced with metal rims for added strength and durability.
    • The body of the chariot was composed of a rectangular platform, often adorned with decorative motifs or inscriptions, where the charioteer and warrior would stand or sit during battle.
    • The chariot's axle, typically made from a solid wooden or metal rod, connected the two wheels and provided stability and support for the vehicle.
  2. Crew:

    • The Hittite chariot was crewed by two individuals:
      • Charioteer: The charioteer was responsible for driving the chariot, controlling the horses, and maneuvering on the battlefield. They were highly skilled and trained in chariot handling and combat tactics.
      • Warrior: The warrior was armed with weapons such as a spear, javelin, or bow, and served as the primary combatant during battle. They would engage enemy forces from the chariot, using ranged or melee weapons to attack opponents.
  3. Horses:

    • The Hittite chariot was typically drawn by a team of two horses, although larger chariots may have been pulled by three or four horses.
    • Horses used for chariotry were specially bred and trained for speed, endurance, and agility. They were typically smaller in size compared to modern breeds but were well-suited for the rigors of chariot warfare.
    • The charioteer controlled the horses using reins attached to their harnesses, allowing them to guide the chariot and direct its movements on the battlefield.
  4. Tactics and Warfare:

    • Hittite chariots played a crucial role in the empire's military tactics and warfare. They were used for reconnaissance, flanking maneuvers, and harassing enemy infantry formations.
    • Charioteers would drive their vehicles at high speeds across the battlefield, launching volleys of arrows or javelins at enemy troops before wheeling around for another pass.
    • Chariots were also effective for pursuing routed enemy forces, running down fleeing soldiers, and disrupting enemy formations with hit-and-run attacks.
  5. Symbolism and Status:

    • In addition to their military function, Hittite chariots were symbols of status, wealth, and prestige. They were often depicted in royal and funerary art, where they symbolized the power and authority of the Hittite kings and nobility.
    • Chariots were also used in ceremonial processions, religious rituals, and hunting expeditions, further highlighting their importance in Hittite society and culture.

In summary, the Hittite chariot was a versatile and formidable weapon of war during the late Bronze Age, providing the Hittite Empire with a mobile and effective platform for battlefield dominance. With skilled charioteers and well-trained horses, Hittite chariots played a crucial role in shaping the empire's military tactics and warfare strategies.


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Egypt Warfare

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