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Old 3rd July 2019, 04:12 PM   #1
HansMustermann
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Iron Chariots

"And the LORD was with Judah; and he drave out the inhabitants of the mountain; but could not drive out the inhabitants of the valley, because they had chariots of iron." -- Judges 1:19

Now I'm not going to go for the usual "then he'll crap a brick when he sees tanks", but rather for the fact that chariots were in fact NOT tanks. So WTH difference is the iron supposed to have made, historically speaking?

To put it into historical context:

A) chariots were already obsolete and ceased being used in that part of the world by the time the story was written. They continued to be used until about the time of Alexander by the Persians, but even those in small numbers, with cavalry taking most of their former role.

B) the chariots used in that area would have been the Egyptian model, which was basically just a light wooden frame on wheels. They were not supposed to be a heavy tank used for a shock charge, but rather things that were fast and maneuverable archery platforms, to charge and swing around while shooting arrows and javelins at the enemy infantry. In a sense they're the chariot version of the later horse archers. So basically, especially given that the horses at the time were really ponies by modern standards, you wanted it to be lightweight if it's gonna be fast enough for that role.

Heavier chariots WERE used in Mesopotamia, but that was pretty much it.

C) even the heavier Mesopotamian version was not a tank. It provided at best some thin wooden protection in front for the crew's legs, but given that those were behind the horse(s) anyway, it didn't make a huge difference. Which is why the rest of the world went for just a frame on wheels.

Most of the protection was provided by a shield-bearer crew member with a tower shield, who would keep it toward the side facing the enemy. Basically instead of going armoured all around, it saved the weight by having a shield only in one direction. (Sort of like how a modern tank could have a very thick plate on the front of the turret, but not stop anything heavier than a heavy machinegun from the back of it.)

D) the more vulnerable element would be the horse(s) in any case. There was no protection in front of them, and they were not armoured. Again, they were going for speed, not for being a tank.

E) making a chariot out of iron seems like a very dumb idea, actually. Wood can actually be tougher than wrought iron at the same weight (they didn't have steel at the time), and is better suited to resist repetitive structural stress for extended periods. Worse yet, wrought iron isn't particularly "springy". You drive that chariot over a rock, and a wood wheel might spring back, while an iron one might just get permanently bent out of shape, unless you make it massively heavier.

F) even as plating on top of wood, I'm not sure why would you want that. They didn't exactly have anti-tank artillery at the time, and wood was plenty enough to stop an arrow. If you wanted tougher, covering it with hide was the preferred way, and really the more sensible way.


So, really, am I missing something obvious there? How was iron supposed to make those chariots unstoppable? I mean from a historical perspective, not from a religious point of view.
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Old 3rd July 2019, 04:22 PM   #2
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It's a myth?
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Old 3rd July 2019, 04:53 PM   #3
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It depends entirely on the translation and intent of the original writer.

For example, the Egyptians used wooden wheels with lighter spokes, for speed and maneuverability as you said. The downside was the wheels were liable to break easily, with disastrous results for the crew.

The "iron" chariots could have been a later design where the wheels had iron tyres, a hoop bound around the outside that provided a much stronger and more durable wheel with not much weight penalty overall. It could have been driven further, faster and harder. Such a chariot would have then been a pretty tough proposition to battle. Also, it would be less fun to be run over by one.
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Old 3rd July 2019, 05:28 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by Captain_Swoop View Post
It's a myth?
Well, obviously. I'm just saying that it seems like a very daft myth.
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Old 3rd July 2019, 06:05 PM   #5
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While "iron" is a construction material, when used as an adjective, the word can also refer to physical or mental or emotional strength
https://dictionary.cambridge.org/dic...y/english/iron

"iron
adjective [ before noun ]
uk ​ /aɪən/ us ​ /aɪrn/

very strong physically, mentally, or emotionally:
It can also mean strict, severe or extreme


Examples:

"You need to have an iron will to make some of these decisions"
"The country is in the grip of an iron winter"
"Hoover ran the FBI with an iron fist"

So, the term "Chariots of Iron" may not have referred at all to what they were constricted of, but could have been a metaphor, for how strong, or imposing they were.
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Old 3rd July 2019, 06:23 PM   #6
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Egyptian wooden chariot wheel.

Later iron-tyred chariot wheel.
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Old 3rd July 2019, 07:22 PM   #7
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Hebrew didn't have a single word to mean exactly the same thing as English "chariot". The closest you could get with a single word would also include carts/wagons/buggies/coaches/carriages, or just vehicle/transport, or even just certain parts of such a contraption, in which case its best English translation would be something like "chassis" or "fuselage" or "frame". One possible translation is even "graft", which I presume refers to the fact that these kinds of contraptions are assembled from pieces held together at joints.

If you want to specify what we'd call a chariot, and none of those other English choices, the conventional way to specify that is... by adding the adjective "iron". Whether to take this literally as meaning that a significant part or all of the machine was really element Fe, or as a metaphor really meaning something like "military" or "of the latest & most advanced technology", I can't say. But either way, the whole phrase together is what really means "chariot", and the word for "iron" is already included as part of that, so putting "iron" before "chariot" in the translation was really using the same Hebrew element twice, thus making it appear to somehow be of more significance or emphasis than it really is. The phrase "war hammer" tells you that the hammer is meant for use in war, not carpentry or such. The phrase "war war hammer" does what... make it somehow more warry than other war hammers?

In any case, the whole statement that one side in a war couldn't be defeated because they had (iron) chariots also doesn't necessarily need to be interpreted quite so directly as that the chariots really caused victories in battle. The chariots could have been used as a sign of that side's ability to invest the materials and the training time that were needed in order to field them. Consider some of the quotes I've run into along the way about when soldiers in WWII "knew" which side would win. In one case, it was a prisoner being taken behind the enemy line and seeing that they were filling in bomb craters with bulldozers instead of shovels, and in another case, it was an ally in Europe talking about the Americans arriving with donut machines and sharing donuts with the other allies. Neither of those guys thought that bulldozers or donut machines would win the war; they just figured that the side that had them would. To come back a bit closer to the original concept here: for some other guys on the losing side, the "I knew" moment was when they got a view of the sea covered in enemy ships right before or during a landing, and thought "there is no end to them; we're doomed". Most of those ships couldn't really have any effect beyond a couple dozen miles in from the shore, so the ships weren't going to win a land war... but the side that had them did. It was an assessment not of the weapon system itself but of the resources behind the ability to put that weapon system out there. "...because they had X" equals "...because they're the ones whose capacity was so great that they could even afford X".

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Old 3rd July 2019, 08:31 PM   #8
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I'd suggest remembering that the events of Judges involved a retelling of events after they supposedly happened, possibly long after. It's essentially describing a battle in which one side had a technological advantage over the other - iron chariots during the bronze age.

If you eliminate the blatantly supernatural events, the stories told in Joshua and Judges appear to me to be more-or-less historical recounts of actual wars, possibly generations after they actually occurred. Much like, if you again eliminate the blatantly supernatural events, Homer's Iliad. Such stories would have been oral histories long before being written down, and get elaborated and updated with each retelling.
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Old 4th July 2019, 12:15 AM   #9
HansMustermann
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Originally Posted by Norman Alexander View Post
It depends entirely on the translation and intent of the original writer.

For example, the Egyptians used wooden wheels with lighter spokes, for speed and maneuverability as you said. The downside was the wheels were liable to break easily, with disastrous results for the crew.

The "iron" chariots could have been a later design where the wheels had iron tyres, a hoop bound around the outside that provided a much stronger and more durable wheel with not much weight penalty overall. It could have been driven further, faster and harder. Such a chariot would have then been a pretty tough proposition to battle. Also, it would be less fun to be run over by one.
While it would make the chariot more able to deal with rough terrain reliably, I'm not sure it made a huge difference when you were attacked by one.

The preferred way to deal with chariots, the way that made them obsolete around the time of the bronze age collapse, was not to attack the wheels or anything. It was to counter-charge and shower them with javelins.

Again, unlike the much later scythed chariots of the Persians, these were not supposed to just charge at full speed into a formation. They'd just come at you while shooting a bow at you, until they were close enough to chuck a javelin too, then wheel around in a semicircle and go away, shooting some more arrows on the way back. Repeat. If you timed a counter-charge with javelins just right, they couldn't go around quick enough to avoid it.

I'd say the probability to actually hit a wheel was rather low. If anything, probably the most hit would be the horse.
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Old 4th July 2019, 12:22 AM   #10
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@Delvo
While unfortunately I don't know the language myself, a quick look at the hebrew version shows no such repetition. It just has "iron" once: https://biblehub.com/text/judges/1-19.htm

So you're saying it actually just means "because they had chariots"? Hmm... now that would make more sense, I suppose. If the events happen before the sea people discovered how to deal with them, chariots were THE thing that won battles, and kicked infantry's ass sky high.
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Old 4th July 2019, 05:22 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by HansMustermann View Post
@Delvo
While unfortunately I don't know the language myself, a quick look at the hebrew version shows no such repetition. It just has "iron" once: https://biblehub.com/text/judges/1-19.htm

So you're saying it actually just means "because they had chariots"? Hmm... now that would make more sense, I suppose. If the events happen before the sea people discovered how to deal with them, chariots were THE thing that won battles, and kicked infantry's ass sky high.
Could it also be that they had iron weapons?
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Old 4th July 2019, 06:12 AM   #12
HansMustermann
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Well, iron wasn't really making the weapons any better, actually. The first iron weapons were lacking any heat treatment and were barely on par with contemporary bronze weapons.
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Old 4th July 2019, 07:22 AM   #13
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Chariot warfare in the Bronze Age Middle East was entirely reflective of available technology.

The role of the chariot was to deliver archers to specific points on the battlefield, soften up the mass infantry formations by disruption from arrow casualties. As others have pointed out, chariots weren't shock weapons that crashed into either other chariots or infantry. Chariots were used instead of cavalry, because saddle tech had not evolved to the point where a mounted archer could move and shoot. Once cavalry became viable which was around the time of Iron Age/Bronze Age collapse, chariots become obsolete as weapons of war.

First - cavalry is simply better. It gives a more flexible approach due to size and relative manouverability, the training and materiel costs are less than chariots and gives the option for cavalry to be employed in a shock role with the simple addition of a spear to the horseman's kit.

The chariot as a weapon of war was obsolete by the early Iron Age in the Middle East and China, staying on only as a status symbol for high-ranking leaders after that point. It remained in use on the periphery of the "civilized world" for a while longer, but major military forces did not employ it, preferring the greater flexibility and cost-effectiveness of basic cavalry.

The Greeks and Celts employed chariots differently They used chariots as mobility systems for aristocratic champions who fought other aristocratic champions on foot. The chariot was a means to display the speed and power of the champion who was expected to quickly cross the ground from his forces to the area immediately in front of the opponents and to issue a challenge to his social equals - these people would then fight a single combat, which might decide the overall result of the battle. The chariot was intended to be kept close to the fighter, ready to quickly depart the area if the champion was injured. Elements of this can be seen in the Illiad, in Caesar's Gallic Wars, and in the accounts of the Roman invasion of Britain.

The Biblical accounts of warfare prior to the Book of Kings tend to reflect what we understand to be typical Bronze Age patterns of military activity - raids, sieges, fights between champions. Since the proto-Israelites were based primarily in mountainous terrain and were almost exclusively infantry they would have been at a large disadvantage when fighting in the valleys where the ground was suited to chariot warfare when they themselves did not have a large or well trained chariot force to act as a covering force and to counter enemy chariots.
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Old 4th July 2019, 08:14 AM   #14
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"The bad guys, see, they had IRON CHARIUTZ! But we whipped 'em anyway, because we're all chosen 'n cool 'n stuff! We got YEHUOWAU on our side!"

"Uh, wait. IRON chariots? Rilly?"

"You callin' God a liar? Huh? 'M talken ta YOU, ya blasfeemer!"

"No, reb, I din't mean nuthen like that, I I I --"

"Kay. Nex' time, shaddup ya mouth 'n lissen ta Wholly Writ! Muh."
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Old 4th July 2019, 09:25 AM   #15
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Originally Posted by sackett View Post
"The bad guys, see, they had IRON CHARIUTZ! But we whipped 'em anyway, because we're all chosen 'n cool 'n stuff! We got YEHUOWAU on our side!"

"Uh, wait. IRON chariots? Rilly?"

"You callin' God a liar? Huh? 'M talken ta YOU, ya blasfeemer!"

"No, reb, I din't mean nuthen like that, I I I --"

"Kay. Nex' time, shaddup ya mouth 'n lissen ta Wholly Writ! Muh."

Except that they didn't get whipped.

To me, it makes sense from a point of view of polytheistic worldview where each deity is the patron of a particular tribe,

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Henotheism
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Old 4th July 2019, 09:31 AM   #16
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Originally Posted by HansMustermann View Post
Well, iron wasn't really making the weapons any better, actually. The first iron weapons were lacking any heat treatment and were barely on par with contemporary bronze weapons.
So I understand, but when you know the secret, iron is apparently easier to get hold of and make than bronze, which requires either tin or arsenic IIRC, as well as copper. If you can afford to equip more of your army with iron than your opponent could with bronze, then you'll have an advantage.
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Old 4th July 2019, 09:37 AM   #17
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I'd have to do some digging, but I vaguely recall some creationists claiming the finding of iron artifacts near the Red Sea as proof of the literal truth of the Bible.
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Old 4th July 2019, 10:09 AM   #18
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I lean toward literal word translation error. In the process of several ancient language conversions and relative historical ignorance on the part of the scribe translating it.

The most ancient languages didn't have a word for computer or iron. Later iron was added and became less magic as it became common in use. We didn't even have a word for germ or virus in 1750 as it was still an unknown concept.

Trying to creatively piece together known words to describe s new concept isn't better than creating s new word as we commonly do today.
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Old 4th July 2019, 10:34 AM   #19
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Originally Posted by 8enotto View Post
I lean toward literal word translation error. In the process of several ancient language conversions and relative historical ignorance on the part of the scribe translating it.

The most ancient languages didn't have a word for computer or iron. Later iron was added and became less magic as it became common in use. We didn't even have a word for germ or virus in 1750 as it was still an unknown concept.

Trying to creatively piece together known words to describe s new concept isn't better than creating s new word as we commonly do today.
But don't you know that the King James Version in 16th century English is the only true word of God?
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Old 4th July 2019, 10:45 AM   #20
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Originally Posted by jimbob View Post
So I understand, but when you know the secret, iron is apparently easier to get hold of and make than bronze, which requires either tin or arsenic IIRC, as well as copper. If you can afford to equip more of your army with iron than your opponent could with bronze, then you'll have an advantage.
Part of the reason for what is referred to as the Bronze Age Collapse is the disruption of the international trade routes that brought tin to areas where there was copper. Iron, in contrast, is exceptionally common and sources of it generally don't need to be brought in from too far away.
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Old 4th July 2019, 12:22 PM   #21
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Originally Posted by jimbob View Post
So I understand, but when you know the secret, iron is apparently easier to get hold of and make than bronze, which requires either tin or arsenic IIRC, as well as copper. If you can afford to equip more of your army with iron than your opponent could with bronze, then you'll have an advantage.
To expand on what Border Reiver said, while both tin and copper are very common (though the weapon-grade arsenic-rich ores are somewhat less so), they're not found in the same place. A massive international trade network was needed to keep whole armies equipped, and even then it wasn't cheap. So yeah, knowing how to process iron ore majorly simplified equipping an army, and doubly so when the trade network has just collapsed.


THAT said, it's not just one paragraph where it mentions iron chariots (or just chariots, according to Delvo, who probably knows the language the best.) Judges 4 also has IIRC like 3 more mentions of specifically those chariots and even their numbers. Basically, OMG, they have a whole 900 of those chariots, and they're kicking our ass sky-high with them.

So my take is that it's not just some symbolic mention of iron. It seems to be actually about those chariots. You don't mention their exact number -- TWICE! -- if they're just symbolic of hey, look what different metal those guys have.

And in all fairness, 900 chariots was quite a lot in Bronze Age engagements. That was a notable military power (or likely coalition of city states) they're dealing with.

I can see how praying to the invisible sky daddy wouldn't help much there, is all I'm saying.

And at any rate, you can probably see why I'm curious about specifically the chariots.
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Old 4th July 2019, 02:02 PM   #22
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Originally Posted by Trebuchet View Post
I'd have to do some digging, but I vaguely recall some creationists claiming the finding of iron artifacts near the Red Sea as proof of the literal truth of the Bible.
You are possibly thinking of Ron Wyatt, an amateur archaeologist (that's being kind) who in the late 1970s claimed to have found gold-coated chariot wheels at the bottom of the Red Sea, thus proving that Pharaoh and his army were drowned after Moses parted the sea and then God zipped it back up over their heads. Upon investigation, his claims lacked foundation and evidence.
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Old 4th July 2019, 02:19 PM   #23
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It is highly unlikely relic hunters in the middle east would have left dozens of chariot wheels in the red sea.
The sales to museums and collectors would have been rags to riches.

Only in unplundered tombs of kings, Tut had one.
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Old 4th July 2019, 03:46 PM   #24
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Originally Posted by Spektator View Post
You are possibly thinking of Ron Wyatt, an amateur archaeologist (that's being kind) who in the late 1970s claimed to have found gold-coated chariot wheels at the bottom of the Red Sea, thus proving that Pharaoh and his army were drowned after Moses parted the sea and then God zipped it back up over their heads. Upon investigation, his claims lacked foundation and evidence.
Seems likely, although I was thinking it was more recent.
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Old 4th July 2019, 04:32 PM   #25
Robin
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Originally Posted by HansMustermann View Post
If there were any people claiming that said story reflects a historical campaign of the forces of king Bigby Wolf against the cities of the three kings of the Pig Clan,
If there were people claiming the story reflects a historical campaign of the forces of King Bigby Wolf agains the cities of the three kings of the Pig Clan, you would feel that you had to take the story seriously?
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Old 4th July 2019, 05:44 PM   #26
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Didn't Deborah and Barak make short work of the 900 iron chariots?
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Old 4th July 2019, 05:50 PM   #27
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In any case, I don't see the big deal. We could take it to mean that Judah could not push back the people on the plain because they had superior military technology, chariots or otherwise.

If he story was passed down orally then it likely would have been passed down by people with no understanding of military technology or metallurgy, hence "iron chariot" as someone's idea of what that superior hardware might be.

As I understand it, the introduction of metals into chariot designs was not for the purpose of armour, but rather to make them lighter, more manouevrable.
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Old 5th July 2019, 06:29 AM   #28
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Originally Posted by HansMustermann View Post
To expand on what Border Reiver said, while both tin and copper are very common (though the weapon-grade arsenic-rich ores are somewhat less so), they're not found in the same place. A massive international trade network was needed to keep whole armies equipped, and even then it wasn't cheap. So yeah, knowing how to process iron ore majorly simplified equipping an army, and doubly so when the trade network has just collapsed.
There's been a fair amount of research on ancient sources of tin - this map from the wiki shows the known sources of tin in the Bronze Age.

Copper in contrast is a lot more common - particularly on the island of Cyprus, but you'll note that tin sources are fairly far from the big users of bronze - even though work hardened iron is a little less effective than bronze weapons (for ease of working and edge retention), the fact that you didn't need to rely on distant sources of needed materiel for your weapons and tools was a huge plus logistically

Quote:
THAT said, it's not just one paragraph where it mentions iron chariots (or just chariots, according to Delvo, who probably knows the language the best.) Judges 4 also has IIRC like 3 more mentions of specifically those chariots and even their numbers. Basically, OMG, they have a whole 900 of those chariots, and they're kicking our ass sky-high with them.

So my take is that it's not just some symbolic mention of iron. It seems to be actually about those chariots. You don't mention their exact number -- TWICE! -- if they're just symbolic of hey, look what different metal those guys have.
I think that this is a reference to the proto-Israelites being militarily outclassed once they left their territory.

The other part of the original quote is also evidence that Yahweh was originally viewed as the deity of a specific place and of lesser power outside of that area - hence the inability of his chosen people to overcome their foes once they left that area - and part of pantheon. This pantheon is later edited out of the compilation of oral histories and cult mythology, or relegated to a supporting or oppositional role as the regional followers expand their area of control and thus, the region where Yahweh's influence/power resides.

Quote:
And in all fairness, 900 chariots was quite a lot in Bronze Age engagements. That was a notable military power (or likely coalition of city states) they're dealing with.
In looking at descriptions of Bronze Age battles we see that the size of the forces involved is likely "exaggerated" to emphasize the power of the parties involved - 90 chariots is more likely (and is still an impressive force for the time)

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I can see how praying to the invisible sky daddy wouldn't help much there, is all I'm saying.

And at any rate, you can probably see why I'm curious about specifically the chariots.
Prayer, without action by material beings, means that "Hope is our COA". And generations of Staff officers and NCOs will tell you that hope is a really poor COA.
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Old 5th July 2019, 07:00 AM   #29
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Originally Posted by HansMustermann View Post
To expand on what Border Reiver said, while both tin and copper are very common (though the weapon-grade arsenic-rich ores are somewhat less so), they're not found in the same place. A massive international trade network was needed to keep whole armies equipped, and even then it wasn't cheap. So yeah, knowing how to process iron ore majorly simplified equipping an army, and doubly so when the trade network has just collapsed.


THAT said, it's not just one paragraph where it mentions iron chariots (or just chariots, according to Delvo, who probably knows the language the best.) Judges 4 also has IIRC like 3 more mentions of specifically those chariots and even their numbers. Basically, OMG, they have a whole 900 of those chariots, and they're kicking our ass sky-high with them.

So my take is that it's not just some symbolic mention of iron. It seems to be actually about those chariots. You don't mention their exact number -- TWICE! -- if they're just symbolic of hey, look what different metal those guys have.

And in all fairness, 900 chariots was quite a lot in Bronze Age engagements. That was a notable military power (or likely coalition of city states) they're dealing with.

I can see how praying to the invisible sky daddy wouldn't help much there, is all I'm saying.

And at any rate, you can probably see why I'm curious about specifically the chariots.
Or, they had 9 chariots but that doesn't look good when you are explaining why you didn't win.
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Old 6th July 2019, 04:13 AM   #30
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Originally Posted by Border Reiver View Post
There's been a fair amount of research on ancient sources of tin - this map from the wiki shows the known sources of tin in the Bronze Age.

Copper in contrast is a lot more common - particularly on the island of Cyprus, but you'll note that tin sources are fairly far from the big users of bronze - even though work hardened iron is a little less effective than bronze weapons (for ease of working and edge retention), the fact that you didn't need to rely on distant sources of needed materiel for your weapons and tools was a huge plus logistically
Actually, I'd say that copper is one that adds an often overlooked complication too.

I mentioned before how for weapon-grade bronze, everyone wanted the hardest bronze they could possibly make, which is to say, containing arsenic. To the point where bronze age smithing gods tend to be lame, because, yeah, that's what chronic arsenic poisoning does.

Of course, they didn't know that much chemistry, but they knew that certain ores make for better bronze. So they wanted those.

Well, arsenic isn't found in the tin ore. It's in the copper ore. Well, along with lead and gold ore, but nobody knew enough chemistry to get the arsenic from there and put it in their bronze.

So essentially now they've made a lot of that abundant copper a lot less desirable. Now if one wants to outfit whole armies with the best possible weapons, only certain sources of copper will do. Cue even more need for long distant trading.
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Old 6th July 2019, 07:14 AM   #31
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Originally Posted by HansMustermann View Post
Actually, I'd say that copper is one that adds an often overlooked complication too.

I mentioned before how for weapon-grade bronze, everyone wanted the hardest bronze they could possibly make, which is to say, containing arsenic. To the point where bronze age smithing gods tend to be lame, because, yeah, that's what chronic arsenic poisoning does.

Of course, they didn't know that much chemistry, but they knew that certain ores make for better bronze. So they wanted those.

Well, arsenic isn't found in the tin ore. It's in the copper ore. Well, along with lead and gold ore, but nobody knew enough chemistry to get the arsenic from there and put it in their bronze.

So essentially now they've made a lot of that abundant copper a lot less desirable. Now if one wants to outfit whole armies with the best possible weapons, only certain sources of copper will do. Cue even more need for long distant trading.
Absolutely, and the chain of events that contributed to the Bronze Age collapse in the eastern Med/Middle East is what did in the trade.

Exhaustion of soils, large scale migration/warfare, famine, social disruption, breakdown of command economies all contributed to the breakdown in international trade.
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Old 7th July 2019, 03:38 AM   #32
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Originally Posted by HansMustermann View Post
So, really, am I missing something obvious there? How was iron supposed to make those chariots unstoppable? I mean from a historical perspective, not from a religious point of view.
ROMAN TRACTION SYSTEMS
Quote:
the interior of the wheel hubs were also lined with metal; this meant that when the wheel turned, the friction would not be wood against wood or wood against metal , but rather metal against metal... Although the axles were made of wood, they were reinforced with iron bushings...

At Neupotz excavators also unearthed eight iron axle fittings, which were used as reinforcements of the wooden axle at the lower side of the axle along the wheel where the nave bushing was placed. These metal supports were placed along the part of the axle where the load force is transferred from axle to the wheel. Twelve iron rim bandings were also found. These rims had their outer side convex, inner side concave or flat, with a thickness of about 15 mm., a width of between 35 to 45mm., and a diameter from 1001 to 1193 mm.20 None had nail holes in them which indicated that they were placed over the fellies hot and then shrunk during the cooling process. This is a very similar process to that used in modern times.
Better bearings, reinforced axle and bushes, stronger wheels - could provide a clear advantage over flimsy wooden chariots.

Whether the 'inhabitants of the valley' actually had such chariots is debatable, but if they did they might well have been 'unstoppable'.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg Egyptian chariot.jpg (22.1 KB, 3 views)
File Type: jpg Etruscan_chariot_4.jpg (91.2 KB, 3 views)
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Old 7th July 2019, 04:48 AM   #33
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The axles would probably be better served by bronze bearings, tbh. Friction coefficient is lower even under the worst conditions, plus you don't risk it rusting solid after one good rain.

Etruscan chariots, well, as Border Reiver already said, by that time chariots were more for nobles and chieftains to ride forward and challenge someone to a duel. You can see from the rich decoration that it's more of a status symbol more than anything else.
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Old 20th July 2019, 09:43 AM   #34
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As for "iron chariots", if it has any significance at all, I reckon it's just poetic license for "their chariots are sturdy and well balanced. Their horses are fast and well trained and brave and their chariot crews are good at it." It's that combo that would make a chariot team formidable not the odd bit of metal here or there. Trying to find actual iron parts related to Middle Eastern chariots in the context of the quote is, I think, trying a bit too hard.

Nave bushings have been suggested (the nave is the thick bit in the middle of the wheel that the spokes come out of) but there are no war chariot remains extant that have such bushings inside the naves. None of the Egyptian ones do (although some do use greased leather bushings. Assuming for the sake of argument that Exodus 14:25 is not pure fantasy, it might suggest some crews had worn-out and wobbly wheel bushings. War chariots must have needed constant attention from their "ground crews"), nor do any of the - much later - Celtic or Etruscan or Chinese chariots have metal nave bushings.
No Roman chariots of any kind survive - apart from statues and sculptures showing more or less fanciful "ceremonial" types.

F.W.I.W. modern reconstructions of war chariots (Egyptian, Celtic and Chinese) all whizz and bounce along just fine without fancy metallic bushings, just using greased wood to wood bearings.

The Etruscan chariot pictured up-thread is the 6th century BC one from Monteleone di Spoleto (albeit wrongly reconstructed in that old image. It was dismantled and correctly re-reconstructed a few years ago). The (rather rickety) framework is covered (revetted) in thin (up to 1mm thick) bronze but it has no metal bushings inside the naves (the naves have extra caps on the ends that do overlap inside the holes for the axle arms by up to 1.25 cm but that hardly counts as bushing). This is thought to be a "ceremonial" vehicle not intended for rapid movement. (Vehicles which are identified as) Etruscan war chariots are constructed with quite different bodywork and suspension. The Monteleone chariot is of the sort shown in Etruscan art being used for triumphal and religious processions and for weddings.

The 3rd century AD Neupotz Roman vehicle was clearly a very heavy wagon (like a truck) for the slow transport of heavy loads. Iron nave bands and - possibly - bushings (all that's usually left in the archaeological record is a hollow metal cylinder) are not uncommon finds on later Roman sites so it seems they either didn't know about "friction coefficients" or didn't care (or didn't agree?). The Romans had various recipes for making axle grease which would presumably have dealt with any propensity to seize up after a rain shower.
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Old 20th July 2019, 01:59 PM   #35
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I read somewhere of the Egyptian chariots using fat from milk as wheel lube. I don't imagine it lasted more than the day, if that, but it seems plausible.

The chariots used in Ben Hur must have been based on the ceremonial type and not the regular army version . But I suspect that movie has forever tainted our view of Roman life. All its errors became fact.
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Old 20th July 2019, 02:12 PM   #36
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Time Team did a special on Roman chariot racing and reproduced racing chariots and actually raced them.
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Old 20th July 2019, 02:21 PM   #37
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Time to google time team tonight... Good stuff.
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Old 20th July 2019, 02:23 PM   #38
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Episode was Britain's lost Roman Circus
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Old 20th July 2019, 02:29 PM   #39
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Originally Posted by TX50 View Post
As for "iron chariots", if it has any significance at all, I reckon it's just poetic license for "their chariots are sturdy and well balanced. Their horses are fast and well trained and brave and their chariot crews are good at it." It's that combo that would make a chariot team formidable not the odd bit of metal here or there. Trying to find actual iron parts related to Middle Eastern chariots in the context of the quote is, I think, trying a bit too hard.
At this time, I guess the proto Israelites wouldn't have had iron technology themselves even if they were aware of it.

Another people who had good chariots and iron weapons could easily have been conflated.
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Old 21st July 2019, 02:34 AM   #40
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Originally Posted by TX50
The 3rd century AD Neupotz Roman vehicle was clearly a very heavy wagon (like a truck) for the slow transport of heavy loads.
Yes, but it shows that the use of iron reinforcing was not unheard of - and 'chariot' does not have to mean a tiny 2 wheeled vehicle.

But perhaps 'iron chariots' actually meant iron scythed chariots.
Quote:
The scythed chariot was a modified war chariot. The blades extended horizontally for about 1 meter to each side of the wheels. The Greek general Xenophon (430−354 BC), an eyewitness at the battle of Cunaxa, tells of them: "These had thin scythes extending at an angle from the axles and also under the driver's seat, turned toward the ground"...

Chariots with iron scythes were recorded in the Hebrew scriptures at both Joshua 17:16, 18 and Judges 1:19, in direct reference to the Canaanites.

Joshua 17:16 New International Version (NIV)

16 The people of Joseph replied, “The hill country is not enough for us, and all the Canaanites who live in the plain have chariots fitted with iron, both those in Beth Shan and its settlements and those in the Valley of Jezreel.”


Judges 1:19 New International Version

The LORD was with the men of Judah. They took possession of the hill country, but they were unable to drive the people from the plains, because they had chariots fitted with iron.
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