How would civilization develop without horses?

Discussion in 'Alternate History Discussion: Before 1900' started by Whiteshore, Dec 1, 2018.

  1. Whiteshore Defender of Myrcella Baratheon

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    Let's assume that all the horses were eaten before anyone could come up with the idea of domesticating them like what happened in the Americas (donkeys and zebras are still around). How does civilization develop without the horse? What would society look like without horses? What would warfare be like in a world without the horse? Could camels take the place of the horse?
     
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  2. Byzantion Well-Known Member

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    Dogs as working animals ?
     
  3. Willmatron World Wanderer Kicked

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    It wouldn't civilizations won't develop very far without either draft animals or means of carrying messages quickly. that is why the Mayan, Aztec and Incan civilzations weren't going to develop any further. Luck of the draw.
     
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  4. Jared Voldemort Jnr

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    They still have draft animals: cattle, donkeys, various other bovines. They just don't have horses.
     
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  5. Willmatron World Wanderer Kicked

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    So, I guess no Alexander the Great, no cavalry charges, no Pony express and possibly no Poseidon or Pegasus.
     
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  6. Whiteshore Defender of Myrcella Baratheon

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    Don’t forget the camel.
     
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  7. Jared Voldemort Jnr

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    I've dealt with camels before, which is why I prefer to forget them.
     
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  8. Byzantine fanatic Scholar of the West and East

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    They can be exchanged for something far more valuable...

    I offered 50 camels to the father of my wife, in exchange for her. :p
     
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  9. Optical_Illusion Well-Known Member

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    My intuition and bias tends to be that the "no horse" timeline would generally work out marginally better for stable civilization. You'd get a lot of the same contacts between East and West Eurasia via pastoralists fanning out using ox drawn wagons and camels through the steppes and Central Asia, and through ships. (I tend to believe the models that stress the wheel and the wagon for carrying water and goods as more important for colonisation of arid steppes and Central Asia, rather than stress the horse). But you'd avoid the development of horse nomads and cavalry elites, and warfare would shift more to benefit those that are good as mass heavy infantry. That always seems to me like it could be a positive.
     
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  10. Whiteshore Defender of Myrcella Baratheon

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    So, what about the Indo-European migrations? How do they develop ITTL?
     
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  11. Salvador79 Well-Known Member

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    You may want to Check my answer in The Book of the Holy Mountain.

    In a nutshell, I believe Eurasia would feel like an even huger place; fast exchange and transmission across the steppes would be delayed a lot. The agricultural civilizations would remain more powerful far longer - probably including a Danubian one, too, and more complexity earlier in Western Anatolia and *Greece, too.

    In the long Run, I guess donkeys might reach the steppes and be bred for greater speed and, with some Reservation, occupy the niche of horses, but by then, the opportunities of the Yamnaya horizon Age are lost, of course.
     
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  12. Chimera0205 Banned

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    *looks at Inca and Aztecs* well if i had to guess........



    (seriously people we have working examples)
     
  13. jycee Well-Known Member

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    I would not have thought about it this way, but I can't seem to disagree.
     
  14. KaiserWilhelm Well-Known Member

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    Would this not belong in ASB?

    Either way, yeah, civilization would be reminiscent of the Aztecs and Inca
     
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  15. The Professor Pontifex Collegii Vexillographiariorum

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    I'm guessing chariots become more a thing in battle with lots of variants.

    Can reindeer be ridden? And if so could they be bred into a more hot climate friendly version?
     
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  16. DValdron Random human being

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    Did he take her back?
     
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  17. Michael B Doomfarer

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    The realms who could have used ox drawn chariots generally had horses, which were better draft animals in this role. No horses could mean frisky steers drawing them. You still have the advantages of chariot over foot movement: shooting platform, height and faster movement than feet (although not as fast as horses).

    It is worth noting that Near East realms switched from onagers to horses. Therefore you don't necessary need horses. Just a suitable draught animal. This precludes reindeer and camels. Camels though outflank chariots so to speak because they are big enough to being ridden without being required to be bred larger.
     
  18. Whiteshore Defender of Myrcella Baratheon

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    So, how would maritime trade develop in such a world? Do we see more thalassocracies?
     
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  19. Miguel Lanius Well-Known Member

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    Can we use Camels on our Chariots?
     
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  20. Mike Stearns Member

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    Yeah, none of the pre-contact cultures of Mesoamerica had heavy draft animals and many of them were very, very sophisticated.