Celtic (Iron Age) Chariot Fittings For Sale
The use of the chariot in war dates from ancient Sumer, but the European light, two-wheeled form was not developed until the late Bronze Age. Chariot warfare was an innovation which allowed the military to deliver a fast-moving attack, to deploy troops rapidly and to screen the infantry from missile attack. The Continental Celtic tribes of central and southern Europe used the chariot as part of their military display, in order to terrify opponents and to enhance the perceived status of the charioteer. The crew comprised a fully-armed warrior and a lightly-armed driver who controlled the horses and guarded the warrior's back. The warrior, always an aristocrat, could use the chariot as a launch-platform for his missiles (throwing spears) or as a means of arriving quickly where his presence was needed to bolster morale.The battle of Telamon (225 BC) is the last known occasion when chariots were deployed in war in Europe, as part of a force of 20,000 troops consisting of charioteers and horsemen. Diodorus Siculus wrote concerning the Gauls "For their journeys and in battle they use two-horse chariots, the chariot carrying both charioteer and chieftain. When they meet with cavalry in the battle they cast their javelins at the enemy and then descending from the chariot join battle with their swords." Tacitus described a similar arrangement in Britain and Caesar met with chariots in the 1st century BC, by which time they must have appeared to be an archaic technology. Nevertheless, chariot warfare is described in some early Irish sources, notably the Tain Bo Cuailnge (Cattle-Raid of Cooley) in which the hero, Cuchulainn, rides in a chariot hedged with spikes and blades. The text dates from the 8th century AD, but the tradition which it records evokes the imagery of chariot-borne warriors such as those who took part in the Boudiccan revolt of 61 AD.
Chariot-fittings are occasionally recovered and we are pleased to offer some fine examples in these pages.
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