Silent Warriors Essay

Submitted By TheFemaleCharlie
Words: 3752
Pages: 16

Table Of Contents

Abstract……………………………………………………………………………3

Overview Of Horses In Ancient Warfare…………………………4

Overview Of Mongol Conquests……………………………………..6

Map Of Mongol Empire…………………………………………………..10

How The Horses Enabled The Conquest…………………………10

Conclusion……………………………………………………………………….12

Bibliography…………………………………………………………………….13

References………………………………………………………………………..13

Abstract

The Mongol Empire was great; possibly the greatest in history. It was vast and surprisingly well-governed, and lasted for several generations after the death of Genghis Khan, the magnificent military leader who united the wandering tribes of Mongols and led them to great victory and conquest. By 1218, the empire sprawled from the eastern edge of the Balkan Peninsula to the Atlantic Ocean and from present-day Moscow and Lake Baikal to the present-day border of Thailand and to the Middle East. Much of this is common knowledge. But how often do you hear mention of the real heroes of this conquest? The true boon to the Mongols is rarely mentioned. The Mongols were magnificent horsemen. They are one of several early civilizations credited with the invention of the stirrup. These horses were little more than small ponies of the steppes. However, without them, the conquest would not have been nearly as successful. It is unlikely that the Mongols would have even attempted such a rampage without their steeds. This project will show several things to prove my point. First, it will detail the advantages of being an ancient warrior on horseback; foot soldiers stood little chance against a mounted opponent. Next, this project will give an overview of the conquests of the Mongols, so that one can better understand the magnitude of their empire. Finally, these two topics will be linked, showing how the advantages of being on horseback and the Mongols’ riding abilities enabled the massive empire to form. Information from this project was gathered from various websites, as well as from my own personal knowledge of horses and horsemanship.

Overview Of Horses In Ancient Warfare1
Horses have been used in military roles since ancient times. Evidence in Eurasia suggests that horses have been used since about 4,000 BC. The Sumerians were using horses as draft animals as far back as 2,500 BC. By 1,600 BC in the Ancient Near East, improvements in the design of the harnesses and chariots led to common chariot warfare. The earliest known manual for training war horses was a chariot horse training manual written in about 1350 BC. By 360 BC, Xenophon, a Greek cavalry officer, had written extensively on horsemanship. Later advancements including the saddle, stirrup, and horse collar further increased the effectiveness of horses in battle. The horse was so effective and important to the military that they were used in some form in the active military until World War II. Even today, horses are still used in patrolling and military ceremonies. Different sizes of horses were used for different tasks. Lighter horses, usually of Arabian descent, were used by the ancient Egyptians, Mongols, Arabs, and Native Americans. These horses were rather small, usually between 12 and 15 hands (a hand is about four inches, so 12-15 hands is 4-5 feet; this height was measured at the withers, or the highest point of the shoulder) and typically carried lightly armored riders and light weapons, such as bows, spears, javelins, and, in later years, rifles. They could pull small, two-passenger chariots and they were often used for transportation to battle sites and scouting. Medium-sized horses were usually between 14.2 and 16 hands (4’ 10” – 5’ 4”) and they tended to be rather stocky. They did not have the speed or endurance of the lighter horses, but were still quite agile and could pull heavier loads and carry heavier armor and weapons. One of the first civilizations to produce and use these horses were the Scythians. Europeans also used them to haul supply…