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Bulls in Ancient and Early Medieval Warfare

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The bull was the first animal which man used to harness. In the 4th thousand BC a bull (usually gelding ox) was harnessed to a cart (this tradition survived up to now); later, in the 2nd thousand BC, in the latter function, the bull was surpassed by donkey and mule. However, a bull as a stronger animal than both latters was frequently used in military trains of Hittites, Egyptians, Romans, Germans, etc. Another way to use bull was riding of warrior astride on bull, later on ass, mule, or horse. In the 10th century, Estern Arican Zanj soldiers rode on cattle. The slow riding on bulls existed in Asia until recent times, since not all people have the means for horse maintenance (Buryats, Tungus, Yakut, Kirgiz, etc.). The herd of cattle could also be used as a weapon, capable to destroy an enemy array.

Keywords: bulls, animals, cattle, train, army, warfare.

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