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Chapter 3 - The Other Chariot: Essedum

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  20 January 2021

Jared Hudson
Affiliation:
Harvard University, Massachusetts
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Summary

A counterpoint to Rome’s most powerful (and most proudly Roman) vehicle, essedum, is the subject this chapter. A brief introduction discusses another non-Roman battle car, the scythe-chariot, and the ways in which its portrayals can externalize onto Eastern enemies Roman currus’ dangers and violence. Essedum represents an alternate strategy of domestication. This war-chariot of the Britons, first encountered and described by Caesar during his British expedition, was subsequently appropriated as an exotic and fashionable means of getting around Rome and its environs. As the vehicle’s original associations fade through time, the conveyance becomes increasingly normalized for quick trips and even seems to have become a kind of light stagecoach for long-distance journeys. Still, as the chapter argues, essedum’s lingering identity as mobile spoils of war available for leisure use by elites allowed the vehicle to function as a safe, subordinate alternative to the pinnacle achievement represented by the triumph.

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The Rhetoric of Roman Transportation
Vehicles in Latin Literature
, pp. 181 - 207
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2021

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  • The Other Chariot: Essedum
  • Jared Hudson, Harvard University, Massachusetts
  • Book: The Rhetoric of Roman Transportation
  • Online publication: 20 January 2021
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108667678.005
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  • The Other Chariot: Essedum
  • Jared Hudson, Harvard University, Massachusetts
  • Book: The Rhetoric of Roman Transportation
  • Online publication: 20 January 2021
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108667678.005
Available formats
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Save book to Google Drive

To save content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about saving content to Google Drive.

  • The Other Chariot: Essedum
  • Jared Hudson, Harvard University, Massachusetts
  • Book: The Rhetoric of Roman Transportation
  • Online publication: 20 January 2021
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108667678.005
Available formats
×