chapter  17
14 Pages

HORSE-STABBERS

Only the most undaunted foot warrior can face horse-warriors, be they on chariots or horseback. But foot fought very efficiently as supporters of cavalry or chariotry. Bronze Age charioteers of the second millennium BC relied on fleet-footed “runners” to back them in battle and to finish off enemy chariot crews whose vehicles had crashed or whose horses were wounded. For this task Egyptian Pharaohs hired bare-chested Indo-European Shardanas, warriors from Sardinia armed with swords and short spears.1 Later, when horsemen came to play a role on battlefields, runners armed with swords or short spears strengthened them to great effect.