chapter  18
8 Pages

HORSE-HEWERS

Horse-hewers differed from horse-stabbers in that they used curved weapons. With curved swords, dirks, or cleavers they hewed at the steeds of horsemen who were caught up in fighting other men. Herodotus tells of such a fight by Onesilos and his squire during the Persian War on Cyprus in 498 BC:

Onesilos took his post over against the Persian general Artybios. Now Artybios rode a horse trained to rear up against foot soldiers. When Onesilos learned this, he said to his shield bearer, a Carian, well-skilled in war and full of daring: “I hear that Artybios rides a horse that rears up and with fore-legs and teeth attacks the man against whom his rider urges him. Think it over now and tell me whom you want to encounter, the steed or Artybios himself.” The squire answered: “I am willing, my prince, to do either or both, whatever you say, but I will tell you what to me seems best for you. Since you are a prince and a field marshal you ought to face the prince and field marshal. Leave it to us followers to face the other followers and the horse. Fear not the horse’s tricks, I promise you it will not rear up against anyone anymore.” … When Artybios on his horse charged Onesilos, the latter, as he had agreed with his shield bearer, struck at the onrushing foe. The horse put his forefeet on Onesilos’ shield, but the Carian hit it with a curved sword and cut off the horse’s feet. Artybios the Persian field marshal and his horse fell right there.1