The End of the War Chariot II

Weapons and Warfare

In reliefs cut at Abydos we can see how closely the ‘runners’ cooperated with chariots at the battle of Kadesh. Besides countering the activities of Hittite ‘runners’ during the assault on the Egyptian camp, the Shardana skirmished amongst the Hittite chariotry, finishing off immobilised enemy charioteers and chariot warriors. Their dispatch was clearly the job of the ‘runners’, who also severed enemy hands in order to number the dead. The presentation of hands to an Egyptian scribe after the battle was over may have been rewarded by a better share of the booty. From the account of Kadesh which Ramesses II had carved on various temple walls it can be deduced that Egyptian soldiers rarely acted as ‘runners’. The same conclusion may be drawn from Ramesses III’s record of the repulse of the Sea Peoples, not least because he deliberately chose to hire mercenaries rather than recruit men attached to…

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