Javelins versus Chariots
Toward the end of the second millennium [B.C.E.], however, this humble weapon seems to have enjoyed a brief prominence. For the ‘hunting’ of chariot horses the javelin must have been ideal: although it would seldom have killed the horse that it hit, the javelin would surely have brought it to a stop, thus immobilizing the other horse, the vehicle, and the crew. Composite bows were appropriate for the chariot warrior, but for a runner a far preferable long-range weapon would have been the javelin. Javelins are thrown on the run, whereas an infantry bowman would have to shoot from either a crouching position or a flat-footed stance (in either case offering chariot archers a stationary target). In addition, the javelineer could carry a small shield, whereas the archer had to use both hands to work his bow. That javelins were in fact used against chariots in the Late Bronze Age is clear from Ramesses the Great’s account of his valor at Kadesh: in the ‘poetic’ inscription Ramesses boasts that the Hittites were unable either to shoot their bows or to hurl their javelins at him as he charged against them in his chariot.