Note:  Do not rely on this information. It is very old.


Chariot. War chariots probably originated in Egypt (Exodus xiv.). They are seen in Egyptian and Assyrian paintings and were used by the Canaanites and the Hebrews. In the Homeric age in Greece the warrior was driven in a chariot - standing by the driver - along the hostile ranks, challenging the foe to personal combat. By 700 B.C. the chariot was only used for racing in Greece. It was on two wheels, open at the back, with a curved rim reaching about to the waist of the driver. Usually four horses were harnessed to it, abreast, the two inside ones yoked to the pole, the two outside more loosely attached. The races were on an oval course, the greatest skill being requisite in turning at the end of a lap. Three-horse chariots are depicted on the frieze of the Parthenon; two-horse were introduced into the races about B.C. 400. In Rome a victorious general rode in an ivory chariot at his triumph. Chariot races were introduced under the kings. Several courses (circi) existed under the later Republic. Usually there were four horses, sometimes two; in one case at least seven, harnessed abreast. A Roman chariot is preserved in the Vatican, while the harnessing may be studied on the bronze horses of St. Mark in Venice. The ancient Britons had war-chariots, from the axles of which projected long scythes of iron.