chariot


Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Wikipedia.

chariot,

earliest and simplest type of carriage and the chief vehicle of many ancient peoples. The chariot was known among the Babylonians before the introduction of horses c.2000 B.C. and was first drawn by asses. The chariot and horse introduced into Egypt c.1700 B.C. by the Hyksos invaders undoubtedly contributed to their military success. Simultaneously the use of the chariot spread over the Middle East, chiefly as a war machine. The Assyrians are credited with introducing chariots with scythes mounted on the wheels as weapons, a type later adopted by the Persians. In Greece and Rome the chariot was never used to any extent in war, possibly because of generally unfavorable topography. It was, however, prominent in games and processions, becoming in Rome the inevitable carriage of the triumphal procession. Here also the chariot races of the circus were developed. The ancient chariot was a very light vehicle, drawn by two or more horses hitched side by side. The car was little else than a floor with a waist-high semicircular guard in front. British chariots were open in front, had a curved wall behind, often had seats, and sometimes had scythes on the wheels.

Chariot

 

a wheeled vehicle used in combat and for triumphal, ritual, and burial processions, as well as for sports contests. Ritual and war chariots have been found in the excavations of the graves of the rich dating from the end of the third millennium B.C. as well as from later times (the finds in Kish, Ur, the Transcaucasus, and elsewhere). Representations of chariots in clay and bronze, bas-reliefs, and paintings have been found over broad areas of Eurasia and North Africa.

War chariots were widely used in the armies of the ancient Orient (Egypt, Assyria, Persia, China, and India). War chariots made up special military detachments which operated in front of or at the flanks of the infantry. An attack by the chariots would disorganize enemy ranks, and the infantry that followed the chariots would complete the rout. There were several types of war chariots, including two-wheeled chariots that were pulled by one or two horses (one warrior drove the horses, and the others fought with spears, swords, or bows); in the case of the four-wheeled chariot pulled by four horses, spears were fastened to its poles, blades were fastened to its axles, and the horses were covered with armor.

In classical Greece the horse-drawn chariot was used chiefly for sports contests. In Rome the triumphal chariots were of the greatest importance; these chariots were used for celebrating victorious imperial campaigns. Up to eight pairs of horses were used to draw them. In medieval Western Europe war chariots were used with high, strong sides in which holes were cut; gunners and even small cannons were carried in such chariots.

chariot

a two-wheeled horse-drawn vehicle used in ancient Egypt, Greece, Rome, etc., in war, races, and processions
References in classic literature ?
I saw that the ceremony, if it could be dignified by such a name, was over, and seeking out Sola I found her in our chariot with a hideous little creature held tightly in her arms.
As for Telemachus, now that he is your guest, send him to Lacedaemon in a chariot, and let one of your sons go with him.
Sun Tzu said: In the operations of war, where there are in the field a thousand swift chariots, as many heavy chariots, and a hundred thousand mail-clad soldiers, with provisions enough to carry them a thousand li, the expenditure at home and at the front, including entertainment of guests, small items such as glue and paint, and sums spent on chariots and armor, will reach the total of a thousand ounces of silver per day.
Nor could it have availed her poor daughter, even had she been within hearing; for no sooner did Proserpina begin to cry out, than the stranger leaped to the ground, caught the child in his arms, and again mounted the chariot, shook the reins, and shouted to the four black horses to set off.
He mounted the chariot, gathered the reins in his hand, and Antenor took his seat beside him; they then drove through the Scaean gates on to the plain.
Mounted troops, their trappings of jewel and metal-incrusted leather glistening in the sunlight, formed the vanguard of the body, and then came a thousand gorgeous chariots drawn by huge zitidars.
Following the chariot came the Scarecrow mounted on the Sawhorse, and the people cheered him almost as loudly as they did their lovely Ruler.
Dorothy and Polychrome and Button-Bright are all to ride in the chariot," said the Lion.
Here is a description of a driver and his war chariot, translated, of course, into English prose.
The girl seemed neither older nor larger than Dorothy herself, and at once the prisoner in the tower guessed that the lovely driver of the chariot must be that Ozma of Oz of whom she had so lately heard from Tiktok.
Their armour shone like a flame of blazing fire as they two stood in their car: their swift horses struck the earth and pawed it with their hoofs, and the dust rose like smoke about them, pounded by the chariot wheels and the horses' hoofs, while the well-made chariot and its rails rattled around them as the horses plunged.
Mrs Wilfer and Miss Lavinia had speculated much on the probabilities and improbabilities of her coming in this gorgeous state, and, on beholding the chariot from the window at which they were secreted to look out for it, agreed that it must be detained at the door as long as possible, for the mortification and confusion of the neighbours.