Cover image for The Horsemen of Israel: Horses and Chariotry in Monarchic Israel By Deborah Cantrell

The Horsemen of Israel

Horses and Chariotry in Monarchic Israel

Deborah Cantrell

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$39.50 | Hardcover Edition
ISBN: 978-1-57506-204-4

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History, Archaeology, and Culture of the Levant

The Horsemen of Israel

Horses and Chariotry in Monarchic Israel

Deborah Cantrell

Almost every book in the Hebrew Bible mentions horses and chariots in some manner, usually in a military context. However, the importance of horses, chariots, and equestrians in ancient Israel is typically mentioned only in passing, if at all, by historians, hippologists, and biblical scholars. When it is mentioned, the topic engenders a great deal of confusion.

 

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  • Table of Contents
Almost every book in the Hebrew Bible mentions horses and chariots in some manner, usually in a military context. However, the importance of horses, chariots, and equestrians in ancient Israel is typically mentioned only in passing, if at all, by historians, hippologists, and biblical scholars. When it is mentioned, the topic engenders a great deal of confusion.

Notwithstanding the substantial textual and archaeological evidence of the horse’s historic presence, recent scholars seem to be led by a general belief that there were very few horses in Iron Age Israel and that Israel’s chariotry was insignificant. The reason for this current sentiment is tied primarily to the academic controversy of the past 50 years over whether the 17 tripartite-pillared buildings excavated at Megiddo in the early 20th century were, in fact, stables. Although the original excavators, archaeologists from the University of Chicago, designated these buildings as stables, a number of scholars (and a few archaeologists) later challenged this view and adopted alternative interpretations. After they “reassessed” the Megiddo stables as “storehouses,” “marketplaces,” or “barracks,” the idea developed that there was no place for the horses to be kept and, therefore, there must have been few horses in Israel. The lack of stables, when added to the suggestion that Iron Age Israel could not have afforded to buy expensive horses and maintain an even more expensive chariotry, led to a dearth of horses in ancient Israel; or so the logic goes that has permeated the literature. Cantrell’s book attempts to dispel this notion.

Too often today, scholars ignore or diminish the role of the horse in battle. It is important to remember that ancient historians took for granted knowledge about horses that modern scholars have now forgotten or never knew. Cantrell’s involvement with horses as a rider, competitor, trainer, breeder, and importer includes equine experience ranging from competitive barrel-racing to jumping, and for the past 25 years, dressage. The Horsemen of Israel relies on the author’s knowledge of and experience with horses as well as her expertise in the field of ancient Near Eastern languages, literature, and archaeology.

Abbreviations

Introduction

Background

Modern Horsemanship

Ancient Scholarship

Current Scholarship

Historical Setting

Biblical Text

Chronology Matters

Horse-Related Architecture

Contents

The Nature of the War-Horse

The Sights of Battle

The Noise of Battle

The Smells of Battle

The Sex of the War-Horse

The Horse in Battle

The Limitations of the Horse in Battle

Killing a Horse in Battle

Horses in Iron Age Israel and Judah

Kurkh Monolith

Tel Dan Stele

Hebrew Bible Texts

Captured Horses

Horse Trading

Horse Prices

Horse Breeding

Size and Breed of Horses

Economic and Practical Considerations

Religious Concerns

Chariotry in Iron Age Israel

Origin of Monarchic Chariotry

Suitability for Chariotry

Topography

Short Distances

Chariot Cost, Manufacture, and Repair

Chariots in Battle

Architectural Advances for the Israelite Chariotry

Six-Chambered Gates

Chambered Gate Dimensions

Stables of Israel: The Case of Megiddo

Stabled Horses

Feeding Troughs

Feeding Regimens

Water Systems

Tethering Holes

Stall Floors

Removal of Horses from Stalls

Presence of “Only” One Exit from the Stable

Stabling of Stallions

Lack of Horse Paraphernalia at Megiddo

Lack of Horse Bones at Megiddo

Lack of Horse Teeth at Megiddo

Ventilation

Training Considerations

Jezreel Military Headquarters and Cavalry Depot

Summary

Warfare in Iron Age Israel

Aramean Invasions

Assyrian Invasions

Egyptian Invasions

Invasion of Moab (2 Kings 3)

From Chariotry to Mounted Combat

Conclusion

Indexes

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