A weapon, arm or armament is any device that can be used with intent to inflict damage or harm. Weapons are used to increase the efficacy and efficiency of activities such as hunting, law enforcement, self-defense, warfare. In broader context, weapons may be construed to include anything used to gain a tactical, material or mental advantage over an adversary or enemy target. While ordinary objects such as sticks, cars, or pencils can be used as weapons, many are expressly designed for the purpose – ranging from simple implements such as clubs and axes, to complicated modern intercontinental ballistic missiles, biological weapons and cyberweapons. Something, re-purposed, converted, or enhanced to become a weapon of war is termed weaponized, such as a weaponized virus or weaponized laser; the use of objects as weapons has been observed among chimpanzees, leading to speculation that early hominids used weapons as early as five million years ago. However, this can not be confirmed using physical evidence because wooden clubs and unshaped stones would have left an ambiguous record.
The earliest unambiguous weapons to be found are the Schöningen spears, eight wooden throwing spears dating back more than 300,000 years. At the site of Nataruk in Turkana, numerous human skeletons dating to 10,000 years ago may present evidence of traumatic injuries to the head, ribs and hands, including obsidian projectiles embedded in the bones that might have been caused from arrows and clubs during conflict between two hunter-gatherer groups, but the evidence interpretation of warfare at Nataruk has been challenged. The earliest ancient weapons were evolutionary improvements of late neolithic implements, but significant improvements in materials and crafting techniques led to a series of revolutions in military technology; the development of metal tools began with copper during the Copper Age and was followed by the Bronze Age, leading to the creation of the Bronze Age sword and similar weapons. During the Bronze Age, the first defensive structures and fortifications appeared as well, indicating an increased need for security.
Weapons designed to breach fortifications followed soon after, such as the battering ram, in use by 2500 BC. The development of iron-working around 1300 BC in Greece had an important impact on the development of ancient weapons, it was not the introduction of early Iron Age swords, however, as they were not superior to their bronze predecessors, but rather the domestication of the horse and widespread use of spoked wheels by c. 2000 BC. This led to the creation of the light, horse-drawn chariot, whose improved mobility proved important during this era. Spoke-wheeled chariot usage peaked around 1300 BC and declined, ceasing to be militarily relevant by the 4th century BC. Cavalry developed; the horse increased the speed of attacks. In addition to land based weaponry, such as the trireme, were in use by the 7th century BC. European warfare during the Post-classical history was dominated by elite groups of knights supported by massed infantry, they were involved in mobile combat and sieges which involved various siege tactics.
Knights on horseback developed tactics for charging with lances providing an impact on the enemy formations and drawing more practical weapons once they entered into the melee. By contrast, infantry, in the age before structured formations, relied on cheap, sturdy weapons such as spears and billhooks in close combat and bows from a distance; as armies became more professional, their equipment was standardized and infantry transitioned to pikes. Pikes are seven to eight feet in length, used in conjunction with smaller side-arms. In Eastern and Middle Eastern warfare, similar tactics were developed independent of European influences; the introduction of gunpowder from the Asia at the end of this period revolutionized warfare. Formations of musketeers, protected by pikemen came to dominate open battles, the cannon replaced the trebuchet as the dominant siege weapon; the European Renaissance marked the beginning of the implementation of firearms in western warfare. Guns and rockets were introduced to the battlefield.
Firearms are qualitatively different from earlier weapons because they release energy from combustible propellants such as gunpowder, rather than from a counter-weight or spring. This energy is released rapidly and can be replicated without much effort by the user; therefore early firearms such as the arquebus were much more powerful than human-powered weapons. Firearms became important and effective during the 16th century to 19th century, with progressive improvements in ignition mechanisms followed by revolutionary changes in ammunition handling and propellant. During the U. S. Civil War new applications of firearms including the machine gun and ironclad warship emerged that would still be recognizable and useful military weapons today in limited conflicts. In the 19th century warship propulsion changed from sail power to fossil fuel-powered steam engines. Since the mid-18th century North American French-Indian war through the beginning of the 20th century, human-powered weapons were reduced from the primary weaponry of the battlefield yielding to gunpowder-based weaponry.
Sometimes referred to as the "Age of Rifles", this period was characterized by the development of firearms for infantry and cannons for support, as well as the beginnings of mechanized weapons such as the machine gun. Of particular note, Howitzers were able to destroy masonry fortresses and other fortifications, this single invention caused a Revolution in
The Roman Empire was the post-Roman Republic period of the ancient Roman civilization. Ruled by emperors, it had large territorial holdings around the Mediterranean Sea in Europe, North Africa, the Middle East, the Caucasus. From the constitutional reforms of Augustus to the military anarchy of the third century, the Empire was a principate ruled from the city of Rome; the Roman Empire was ruled by multiple emperors and divided in a Western Roman Empire, based in Milan and Ravenna, an Eastern Roman Empire, based in Nicomedia and Constantinople. Rome remained the nominal capital of both parts until 476 AD, when Odoacer deposed Romulus Augustus after capturing Ravenna and the Roman Senate sent the imperial regalia to Constantinople; the fall of the Western Roman Empire to barbarian kings, along with the hellenization of the Eastern Roman Empire into the Byzantine Empire, is conventionally used to mark the end of Ancient Rome and the beginning of the Middle Ages. The previous Republic, which had replaced Rome's monarchy in the 6th century BC, became destabilized in a series of civil wars and political conflict.
In the mid-1st century BC Julius Caesar was appointed as perpetual dictator and assassinated in 44 BC. Civil wars and proscriptions continued, culminating in the victory of Octavian, Caesar's adopted son, over Mark Antony and Cleopatra at the Battle of Actium in 31 BC; the following year Octavian conquered Ptolemaic Egypt, ending the Hellenistic period that had begun with the conquests of Alexander the Great of Macedon in the 4th century BC. Octavian's power was unassailable and in 27 BC the Roman Senate formally granted him overarching power and the new title Augustus making him the first emperor; the first two centuries of the Empire were a period of unprecedented stability and prosperity known as the Pax Romana. It reached its greatest territorial expanse during the reign of Trajan. A period of increasing trouble and decline began with the reign of Commodus. In the 3rd century, the Empire underwent a crisis that threatened its existence, but was reunified under Aurelian. In an effort to stabilize the Empire, Diocletian set up two different imperial courts in the Greek East and Latin West.
Christians rose to power in the 4th century following the Edict of Milan in 313 and the Edict of Thessalonica in 380. Shortly after, the Migration Period involving large invasions by Germanic peoples and the Huns of Attila led to the decline of the Western Roman Empire. With the fall of Ravenna to the Germanic Herulians and the deposition of Romulus Augustulus in 476 AD by Odoacer, the Western Roman Empire collapsed and it was formally abolished by emperor Zeno in 480 AD; the Eastern Roman Empire, known in the post-Roman West as the Byzantine Empire, collapsed when Constantinople fell to the Ottoman Turks of Mehmed II in 1453. Due to the Roman Empire's vast extent and long endurance, the institutions and culture of Rome had a profound and lasting influence on the development of language, architecture, philosophy and forms of government in the territory it governed Europe; the Latin language of the Romans evolved into the Romance languages of the medieval and modern world, while Medieval Greek became the language of the Eastern Roman Empire.
Its adoption of Christianity led to the formation of Christendom during the Middle Ages. Greek and Roman art had a profound impact on the late medieval Italian Renaissance, while Rome's republican institutions influenced the political development of republics such as the United States and France; the corpus of Roman law has its descendants in many legal systems of the world today, such as the Napoleonic Code. Rome's architectural tradition served as the basis for Neoclassical architecture. Rome had begun expanding shortly after the founding of the republic in the 6th century BC, though it did not expand outside the Italian peninsula until the 3rd century BC, it was an "empire" long before it had an emperor. The Roman Republic was not a nation-state in the modern sense, but a network of towns left to rule themselves and provinces administered by military commanders, it was ruled, not by annually elected magistrates in conjunction with the senate. For various reasons, the 1st century BC was a time of political and military upheaval, which led to rule by emperors.
The consuls' military power rested in the Roman legal concept of imperium, which means "command". Successful consuls were given the honorary title imperator, this is the origin of the word emperor since this title was always bestowed to the early emperors upon their accession. Rome suffered a long series of internal conflicts and civil wars from the late second century BC onward, while extending its power beyond Italy; this was the period of the Crisis of the Roman Republic. Towards the end of this era, in 44 BC, Julius Caesar was perpetual dictator before being assassinated; the faction of his assassins was driven from Rome and defeated at the Battle of Philippi in 42 BC by an army led by Mark Antony and Caesar's adopted son Octavian. Antony and Octavian's division of the Roman world between themselves did not last and Octavian's forces defeated those of Mark Antony and Cleopatra at the Battle of Actium in 31 BC, ending the Final War of the Roman Republic. In 27 BC the Senate and People of Rome made Octavian princeps ("first citi
A club is among the simplest of all weapons: a short staff or stick made of wood, wielded as a weapon since prehistoric times. There are several examples of blunt-force trauma caused by clubs in the past, including at the site of Nataruk in Turkana, described as the scene of a prehistoric conflict between bands of hunter-gatherers 10,000 years ago. In popular culture, clubs are associated with primitive cultures cavemen. Most clubs are small enough to be swung with one hand, although larger clubs may require the use of two to be effective. Various specialized clubs are used in martial arts and other fields, including the law-enforcement baton; the military mace is a more sophisticated descendant of the club made of metal and featuring a spiked, knobbed, or flanged head attached to a shaft. The wounds inflicted by a club are known as strike trauma or blunt-force trauma injuries. Police forces and their predecessors have traditionally favored the use, whenever possible, of less-lethal weapons than guns or blades.
Until recent times, when alternatives such as tasers and capsicum spray became available, this category of policing weapon has been filled by some form of wooden club variously termed a truncheon, nightstick, or lathi. Short, flexible clubs are often used by plainclothes officers who need to avoid notice; these are known colloquially as saps, or coshes. They are used in olden ages of the Philippines to punish citizens. Conversely, criminals have been known to arm themselves with an array of homemade or improvised clubs of concealable sizes, or which can be explained as being carried for legitimate purposes. In addition, Shaolin monks and members of other religious orders around the world have employed cudgels from time to time as defensive weapons. Though the simplest of all weapons, there are many varieties of club, including: For other types see Baton. Aklys – a club with an integrated leather thong, used to return it to the hand after snapping it at an opponent. Used by the legions of the Roman Empire.
Ball club – These clubs were used by the Native Americans. There are two types; these consisted of a free-moving head of rounded stone or wood attached to a wooden handle. Baseball, cricket and T-ball bats – The baseball bat is used as an improvised weapon, much like the pickaxe handle. In countries where baseball is not played, baseball bats are first thought of as weapons. Tee ball bats are used in this manner, their smaller size and lighter weight make the bat easier to handle in one hand than a baseball bat. Baton Blackjack: see cosh. Clava – a traditional stone hand-club used by Mapuche Indians in Chile, featuring a long flat body. In Spanish, it is known as clava cefalomorfa, it has some ritual importance as a special sign of distinction carried by the tribal chief. Cosh: A weapon made of covered metal similar to a blackjack. Any of various sorts of blunt instrument such as bludgeon, truncheon or the like. Cudgel – A stout stick carried by peasants during the Middle Ages, it functioned as a weapon for both self-defence and wartime.
Regiments of clubmen were raised as late as the English Civil War. The cudgel is known as the singlestick. Crowbar – The crowbar is a used improvised weapon, though some examples are too large to be wielded with a single hand, therefore should be classified as staves. Flashlight – A large metal flashlight, such as a Maglite, can make a effective improvised club. Though not classified as a weapon, it is carried for self-defense by security guards and civilians in countries where carrying weapons is restricted. Gunstock war club – The wooden stocks of firearms introduced during the European colonization of the Americas were re-used by First Nations as improvised weapons. Regardless, the gunstock is an essential part of firearms, but it was stylized as a war club made famous by the American Indians as the gunstock war club. Another more modern variation of this kind of war club is the combat skill of bayonet usage. Without a knife or blade type attachment, the rifle's body itself is used for close-quarters combat.
Jutte – One of the more distinctive weapons of the samurai police was the jutte. An iron rod, the jutte was popular because it could parry and disarm a sword-wielding assailant without serious injury. A single hook on the side near the handle allowed the jutte to be used for trapping or breaking the blades of edged weapons, as well as for jabbing and striking; the hook could be used to entangle the clothes or fingers of an opponent. Thus, feudal Japanese police used the jutte to arrest subjects without serious bloodshed; the jutte came to be considered a symbol of official status. Kanabō – Various types of different-sized Japanese clubs made of wood and or iron with iron spikes or studs. First used by the Samurai. Kiyoga, a spring baton similar in concept to the Asp collapsible police baton, but with the center section made of a heavy duty steel spring; the tip and first section slide into the spring, the whole nests into a seven-inch handle. To deploy the kiyoga, all, necessary is to grasp the handle and swing.
The Upper Paleolithic is the third and last subdivision of the Paleolithic or Old Stone Age. Broadly, it dates to between 50,000 and 10,000 years ago, according to some theories coinciding with the appearance of behavioral modernity and before the advent of agriculture. Anatomically modern humans are believed to have emerged out of Africa around 200,000 years ago, although these lifestyles changed little from that of archaic humans of the Middle Paleolithic, until about 50,000 years ago, when there was a marked increase in the diversity of artefacts; this period coincides with the expansion of modern humans from Africa throughout Asia and Eurasia, which contributed to the extinction of the Neanderthals. The Upper Paleolithic has the earliest known evidence of organized settlements, in the form of campsites, some with storage pits. Artistic work blossomed, with cave painting, petroglyphs and engravings on bone or ivory; the first evidence of human fishing is found, from artefacts in places such as Blombos cave in South Africa.
More complex social groupings emerged, supported by more varied and reliable food sources and specialized tool types. This contributed to increasing group identification or ethnicity; the peopling of Australia most took place before c. 60 ka. Europe was peopled after c. 45 ka. Anatomically modern humans are known to have expanded northward into Siberia as far as the 58th parallel by about 45 ka; the Upper Paleolithic is divided during about 25 to 15 ka. The peopling of the Americas occurred during this time, with East and Central Asia populations reaching the Bering land bridge after about 35 ka, expanding into the Americas by about 15 ka. In Western Eurasia, the Paleolithic eases into the so-called Epipaleolithic or Mesolithic from the end of the LGM, beginning 15 ka; the Holocene glacial retreat begins 11.7 ka, falling well into the Old World Epipaleolithic, marking the beginning of the earliest forms of farming in the Fertile Crescent. Both Homo erectus and Neanderthals used the same crude stone tools.
Archaeologist Richard G. Klein, who has worked extensively on ancient stone tools, describes the stone tool kit of archaic hominids as impossible to categorize, it was as if the Neanderthals made stone tools, were not much concerned about their final forms. He argues that everywhere, whether Asia, Africa or Europe, before 50,000 years ago all the stone tools are much alike and unsophisticated. Firstly among the artefacts of Africa, archeologists found they could differentiate and classify those of less than 50,000 years into many different categories, such as projectile points, engraving tools, knife blades, drilling and piercing tools; these new stone-tool types have been described as being distinctly differentiated from each other. The invaders referred to as the Cro-Magnons, left many sophisticated stone tools and engraved pieces on bone and antler, cave paintings and Venus figurines; the Neanderthals continued to use Mousterian stone tool technology and Chatelperronian technology. These tools disappeared from the archeological record at around the same time the Neanderthals themselves disappeared from the fossil record, about 40,000 cal BP.
Settlements were located in narrow valley bottoms associated with hunting of passing herds of animals. Some of them may have been occupied year round, though more they appear to have been used seasonally. Hunting was important, caribou/wild reindeer "may well be the species of single greatest importance in the entire anthropological literature on hunting."Technological advances included significant developments in flint tool manufacturing, with industries based on fine blades rather than simpler and shorter flakes. Burins and racloirs were used to work bone and hides. Advanced darts and harpoons appear in this period, along with the fish hook, the oil lamp and the eyed needle; the changes in human behavior have been attributed to changes in climate, encompassing a number of global temperature drops. These led to a worsening of the bitter cold of the last glacial period; such changes may have reduced the supply of usable timber and forced people to look at other materials. In addition, flint may not have functioned as a tool.
Some scholars argue that the appearance of complex or abstract language made these behavior changes possible. The complexity of the new human capabilities hints that humans were less capable of planning or foresight before 40,000 years, while the emergence of cooperative and coherent communication marked a new era of cultural development; the climate of the period in Europe saw dramatic changes, included the Last Glacial Maximum, the coldest phase of the last glacial period, which lasted from about 26.5 to 19 kya, being coldest at the end, before a rapid warming. During the Maximum, most of Northern Europe was covered by an ice-sheet, forcing human populations into the areas known as Last Glacial Maximum refugia, including modern Italy and the Balkans, parts of the Iberian Peninsula and areas around the Black Sea; this period saw cultures such as the Solutrean in Spain. Human life may have continued on top of the ice sheet, but we know next to nothing about it, little about the human life that preceded the European glaciers.
In the early part of the period, up to a
The Mahābhārata is one of the two major Sanskrit epics of ancient India, the other being the Rāmāyaṇa. It narrates the struggle between two groups of cousins in the Kurukshetra War and the fates of the Kaurava and the Pāṇḍava princes and their succession. Along with the Rāmāyaṇa, it forms the Hindu Itihasa; the Mahābhārata is an epic legendary narrative of the Kurukṣetra War and the fates of the Kaurava and the Pāṇḍava princes. It contains philosophical and devotional material, such as a discussion of the four "goals of life" or puruṣārtha. Among the principal works and stories in the Mahābhārata are the Bhagavad Gita, the story of Damayanti, an abbreviated version of the Rāmāyaṇa, the story of Ṛṣyasringa considered as works in their own right. Traditionally, the authorship of the Mahābhārata is attributed to Vyāsa. There have been many attempts to unravel compositional layers; the oldest preserved parts of the text are thought to be not much older than around 400 BCE, though the origins of the epic fall between the 8th and 9th centuries BCE.
The text reached its final form by the early Gupta period. According to the Mahābhārata itself, the tale is extended from a shorter version of 24,000 verses called Bhārata; the Mahābhārata is the longest epic poem known and has been described as "the longest poem written". Its longest version consists of over 100,000 śloka or over 200,000 individual verse lines, long prose passages. At about 1.8 million words in total, the Mahābhārata is ten times the length of the Iliad and the Odyssey combined, or about four times the length of the Rāmāyaṇa. W. J. Johnson has compared the importance of the Mahābhārata in the context of world civilization to that of the Bible, the works of William Shakespeare, the works of Homer, Greek drama, or the Quran. Within the Indian tradition it is sometimes called the Fifth Veda; the epic is traditionally ascribed to the sage Vyāsa, a major character in the epic. Vyāsa described it as being itihāsa, he describes the Guru-shishya parampara, which traces all great teachers and their students of the Vedic times.
The first section of the Mahābhārata states that it was Gaṇeśa who wrote down the text to Vyasa's dictation. The epic employs the story within a story structure, otherwise known as frametales, popular in many Indian religious and non-religious works, it is first recited at Takshashila by the sage Vaiśampāyana, a disciple of Vyāsa, to the King Janamejaya, the great-grandson of the Pāṇḍava prince Arjuna. The story is recited again by a professional storyteller named Ugraśrava Sauti, many years to an assemblage of sages performing the 12-year sacrifice for the king Saunaka Kulapati in the Naimiśa Forest; the text was described by some early 20th-century western Indologists as chaotic. Hermann Oldenberg supposed that the original poem must once have carried an immense "tragic force" but dismissed the full text as a "horrible chaos." Moritz Winternitz considered that "only unpoetical theologists and clumsy scribes" could have lumped the parts of disparate origin into an unordered whole. Research on the Mahābhārata has put an enormous effort into recognizing and dating layers within the text.
Some elements of the present Mahābhārata can be traced back to Vedic times. The background to the Mahābhārata suggests the origin of the epic occurs "after the early Vedic period" and before "the first Indian'empire' was to rise in the third century B. C." That this is "a date not too far removed from the 8th or 9th century B. C." is likely. Mahābhārata started as an orally-transmitted tale of the charioteer bards, it is agreed that "Unlike the Vedas, which have to be preserved letter-perfect, the epic was a popular work whose reciters would conform to changes in language and style," so the earliest'surviving' components of this dynamic text are believed to be no older than the earliest'external' references we have to the epic, which may include an allusion in Panini's 4th century BCE grammar Aṣṭādhyāyī 4:2:56. It is estimated that the Sanskrit text reached something of a "final form" by the early Gupta period. Vishnu Sukthankar, editor of the first great critical edition of the Mahābhārata, commented: "It is useless to think of reconstructing a fluid text in a original shape, on the basis of an archetype and a stemma codicum.
What is possible? Our objective can only be to reconstruct the oldest form of the text which it is possible to reach on the basis of the manuscript material available." That manuscript evidence is somewhat late, given its material composition and the climate of India, but it is extensive. The Mahābhārata itself distinguishes a core portion of 24,000 verses: the Bhārata proper, as opposed to additional secondary material, while the Aśvalāyana Gṛhyasūtra makes a similar distinction. At least three redactions of the text are recognized: Jaya with 8,800 verses attributed to Vyāsa, Bhārata with 24,000 verses as recited by Vaiśampāyana, the Mahābhārata as recited by Ugraśrava Sauti with over 100,000 verses. However, some scholars, such as John Brockington, argue that Jaya and Bharata refer to the same text, ascribe the theory of Jaya with 8,800 verses to a misreading of a verse in Ādiparvan; the redaction of this large body of text was carried out after formal principles, emphasizing the numbers 18 and 12.
The addition of the latest parts may be dated by the absence of the Anuśāsana-parva and the Virāta parva from the "Spitzer manuscript". The oldest surviving
Cavalry or horsemen are soldiers or warriors who fight mounted on horseback. Cavalry were the most mobile of the combat arms. An individual soldier in the cavalry is known by a number of designations such as cavalryman, dragoon, or trooper; the designation of cavalry was not given to any military forces that used other animals, such as camels, mules or elephants. Infantry who moved on horseback, but dismounted to fight on foot, were known in the 17th and early 18th centuries as dragoons, a class of mounted infantry which evolved into cavalry proper while retaining their historic title. Cavalry had the advantage of improved mobility, a man fighting from horseback had the advantages of greater height and inertial mass over an opponent on foot. Another element of horse mounted warfare is the psychological impact a mounted soldier can inflict on an opponent; the speed and shock value of the cavalry was appreciated and exploited in armed forces in the Ancient and Middle Ages. In Europe cavalry became armoured, became known for the mounted knights.
During the 17th century cavalry in Europe lost most of its armor, ineffective against the muskets and cannon which were coming into use, by the mid-19th century armor had fallen into disuse, although some regiments retained a small thickened cuirass that offered protection against lances and sabres and some protection against shot. In the period between the World Wars, many cavalry units were converted into motorized infantry and mechanized infantry units, or reformed as tank troops. However, some cavalry still served during World War II, notably in the Red Army, the Mongolian People's Army, the Royal Italian Army, the Romanian Army, the Polish Land Forces, light reconnaissance units within the Waffen SS. Most cavalry units that are horse-mounted in modern armies serve in purely ceremonial roles, or as mounted infantry in difficult terrain such as mountains or forested areas. Modern usage of the term refers to units performing the role of reconnaissance and target acquisition. In many modern armies, the term cavalry is still used to refer to units that are a combat arm of the armed forces which in the past filled the traditional horse-borne land combat light cavalry roles.
These include scouting, skirmishing with enemy reconnaissance elements to deny them knowledge of own disposition of troops, forward security, offensive reconnaissance by combat, defensive screening of friendly forces during retrograde movement, restoration of command and control, battle handover and passage of lines, relief in place, breakout operations, raiding. The shock role, traditionally filled by heavy cavalry, is filled by units with the "armored" designation. Before the Iron Age, the role of cavalry on the battlefield was performed by light chariots; the chariot originated with the Sintashta-Petrovka culture in Central Asia and spread by nomadic or semi-nomadic Indo-Iranians. The chariot was adopted by settled peoples both as a military technology and an object of ceremonial status by the pharaohs of the New Kingdom of Egypt as well as the Assyrian army and Babylonian royalty; the power of mobility given by mounted units was recognized early on, but was offset by the difficulty of raising large forces and by the inability of horses to carry heavy armor.
Cavalry techniques were an innovation of equestrian nomads of the Central Asian and Iranian steppe and pastoralist tribes such as the Iranic Parthians and Sarmatians. The photograph above left shows Assyrian cavalry from reliefs of 865–860 BC. At this time, the men had no spurs, saddle cloths, or stirrups. Fighting from the back of a horse was much more difficult than mere riding; the cavalry acted in pairs. At this early time, cavalry used swords and bows; the sculpture implies two types of cavalry. Images of Assyrian cavalry show saddle cloths as primitive saddles, allowing each archer to control his own horse; as early as 490 BC a breed of large horses was bred in the Nisaean plain in Media to carry men with increasing amounts of armour, but large horses were still exceptional at this time. By the fourth century BC the Chinese during the Warring States period began to use cavalry against rival states, by 331 BC when Alexander the Great defeated the Persians the use of chariots in battle was obsolete in most nations.
The last recorded use of chariots as a shock force in continental Europe was during the Battle of Telamon in 225 BC. However, chariots remained in use for ceremonial purposes such as carrying the victorious general in a Roman triumph, or for racing. Outside of mainland Europe, the southern Britons met Julius Caesar with chariots in 55 and 54 BC, but by the time of the Roman conquest of Britain a century chariots were obsolete in Britannia; the last mention of chariot use in Britain was by the Caledonians at the Mons Graupius, in 84 AD. During the classical Greek period cavalry were limited to those citizens who could afford expensive war-horses. Three types of cavalry became common: light cavalry, whose riders, armed with javelins, could harass and skirmish.
Ramayana is one of the two major Sanskrit epics of ancient India, the other being the Mahābhārata. Along with the Mahābhārata, it forms the Hindu Itihasa; the epic, traditionally ascribed to the Hindu Valmiki, narrates the life of Rama, the legendary prince of the Kosala Kingdom. It follows his fourteen-year exile to the forest from the kingdom, by his father King Dasharatha, on request of his second wife Kaikeyi, his travels across forests in India with his wife Sita and brother Lakshmana, the kidnapping of his wife by Ravana, the great king of Lanka, resulting in a war with him, Rama's eventual return to Ayodhya to be crowned king. There have been many attempts to unravel the epic's historical growth and compositional layers; the Ramayana is one of the largest ancient epics in world literature. It consists of nearly 24,000 verses, divided into about 500 sargas. In Hindu tradition, it is considered to be the adi-kavya, it depicts the duties of relationships, portraying ideal characters like the ideal father, the ideal servant, the ideal brother, the ideal husband and the ideal king.
Ramayana was an important influence on Sanskrit poetry and Hindu life and culture. Like Mahabharata, Ramayana is not just a story: it presents the teachings of ancient Hindu sages in narrative allegory, interspersing philosophical and ethical elements; the characters Rama, Lakshmana, Hanuman and Ravana are all fundamental to the cultural consciousness of India, Sri Lanka, south-east Asian countries such as Thailand, Cambodia and Indonesia. There are many versions of Ramayana in Indian languages, besides Buddhist and Jain adaptations. There are Cambodian, Filipino, Lao and Malaysian versions of the tale; the name Ramayana is a tatpuruṣa compound of the name Rāma. According to Hindu tradition, the Ramayana itself, the epic belongs to the genre of itihasa like Mahabharata; the definition of itihāsa is a narrative of past events which includes teachings on the goals of human life. According to Hindu tradition, Ramayana takes place during a period of time known as Treta Yuga. In its extant form, Valmiki's Ramayana is an epic poem of some 24,000 verses.
The text survives in several thousand partial and complete manuscripts, the oldest of, a palm-leaf manuscript found in Nepal and dated to the 11th century CE. A Times of India report dated 18 December 2015 informs about the discovery of a 6th-century manuscript of the Ramayana at the Asiatic Society library, Kolkata; the Ramayana text has several regional renderings and sub recensions. Textual scholar Robert P. Goldman differentiates two major regional revisions: the southern. Scholar Romesh Chunder Dutt writes that "the Ramayana, like the Mahabharata, is a growth of centuries, but the main story is more distinctly the creation of one mind." There has been discussion as to whether the first and the last volumes of Valmiki's Ramayana were composed by the original author. Most Hindus still believe they are integral parts of the book, in spite of some style differences and narrative contradictions between these two volumes and the rest of the book. Retellings include Kamban's Ramavataram in Tamil, Gona Budda Reddy's Ramayanam in Telugu, Madhava Kandali's Saptakanda Ramayana in Assamese, Krittibas Ojha's Krittivasi Ramayan in Bengali, Sarala Das' Vilanka Ramayana and Balaram Das' Dandi Ramayana both in Odia, sant Eknath's Bhavarth Ramayan in Marathi, Tulsidas' Ramcharitamanas in Awadhi and Thunchaththu Ezhuthachan's Adhyathmaramayanam in Malayalam.
Ramayana predates Mahabharata. However, the general cultural background of Ramayana is one of the post-urbanization periods of the eastern part of north India and Nepal, while Mahabharata reflects the Kuru areas west of this, from the Rigvedic to the late Vedic period. By tradition, the text belongs to second of the four eons of Hindu chronology. Rama is said to have been born in the Treta Yuga to king Dasharatha in the Ikshvaku dynasty; the names of the characters are all known in late Vedic literature. However, nowhere in the surviving Vedic poetry is there a story similar to the Ramayana of Valmiki. According to the modern academic view, who, according to Bala Kanda, was incarnated as Rama, first came into prominence with the epics themselves and further, during the puranic period of the 1st millennium CE. In the epic Mahabharata, there is a version of Ramayana known as Ramopakhyana; this version is depicted as a narration to Yudhishthira. Books two to six form the oldest portion of the epic, while the first and last books are additions, as some style differences and narrative contradictions between these two volumes and the rest of the book.
The author or authors of Bala Kanda and Ayodhya Kanda appear to be familiar with the eastern Gangetic basin region of northern India and with the Kosala and Magadha regions during the period of the sixteen Mahajanapadas, based on the fact that the geographical and geopolitical data accords with what is known about the region. Dasharatha is father of Rama, he has three queens, Kausalya, Ka