Friday, November 21, 2008

Ancient Egyptian Chariot Making

The Egyptians didn't invent the chariot but as things go they did improve upon the idea. To our knowledge, the first reported chariot comes from about 2000 B.C.E. in Mesopotamia. This is an interesting fact, but the truth is that it wouldn’t have been possibly if the wheel hadn’t been invented. It is thought that the creation of the wheel is that of a single unknown inventor of the Sumerian culture in Mesopotamia. It was invented sometime around 3500-3000 B.C.E. The chariot paved its way into the Egyptian culture around 1500 B.C.E. The Egyptian chariot was unique in that it was constructed to be handsome and light in weight. This was probably due to a lack of wood along the Nile River.

The chariots were better designed than their predecessor of the Assyrians was. The Egyptians designed the chariot with the human standing directly over the axle of the chariot. By accomplishing this there was less stress put on the horse(s) because the rider’s weight was distributed to the chariot than to the horse.

The design of the chariot of two wheels and were squeaky and creaked. Basically they were heard wherever they went. The Egyptians didn’t like this idea, and they lined the hubs and covered the axle with copper or bronze plates. The design of the chariot consisted of a number of new and unique ideas to make their chariot stand out. The hub was long and slender, and the spokes were light and nicely shaped. The fellies were one to and held by a spoke. The fellies, inserted in the spoke, were bent, shaped, and joined with a long lap. The tires were made of wood and were shaped in sections. They were attached to the wheel lashing made of rawhide. This lashing technique was unique in that they passed it through slots in the tire sections. The reasoning for this was to keep the lashing from coming in contact with the ground, thus extending its life by lessening the wear and tear.

A pole that is attached to a yoke pulls the chariots. The yoke is attached to the horses’ back by a saddle-pads using girths around the bellies to hold them in place. The Egyptian had two types of chariots, and according to the source the only difference seems to be in the wheels. The Egyptian war-chariot had six spokes while the carriage chariots had only four. The reasoning behind this difference is probably due to the extra support needed in the war-chariot based on the stress that can be put on them is higher than that of the carriage chariot.

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