Chariot facts for kids

Kids Encyclopedia Facts
Biga. Festa do esquecemento. Xinzo de Limia, Ourense, Galicia
A chariot drawn by horses

A chariot is a type of carriage driven by a charioteer using primarily horses to provide rapid motive power. Chariots were used by armies as transport or mobile archery platforms, for hunting or for racing, and as a conveniently fast way to travel for many ancient people.

The word "chariot" comes from the Latin carrus, itself a loanword from Gaulish. A chariot of war or one used in military parades was called a car. In ancient Rome and some other ancient Mediterranean civilizations, a biga required two horses, a triga three, and a quadriga four.

The horse chariot was a fast, light, open, two-wheeled conveyance drawn by two or more horses that were hitched side by side, and was little more than a floor with a waist-high guard at the front and sides. It was initially used for ancient warfare during the Bronze and Iron Ages; but, after its military capabilities had been superseded by cavalry, as horses were gradually bred to be bigger, the chariot was used for travel, in processions, for games, and in races.

Ancient Greek myths says that Poseidon, god of the sea, and Athena, goddess of wisdom, created the chariot together. Poseidon created the horses like waves, and Athena made the chariot. The two gods worked together.

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