By Christopher Lascelles
A truly written, remarkably entire consultant to the best tale in the world - man's trip from the earliest instances to the fashionable day.
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It wasn’t that they did not know about the wheel. Ancient rock paintings in the southern Sahara preserve scores of images of horse-drawn two-wheeled chariots, probably painted by peoples who moved into the region from the north as the cattle herders responded to increasingly arid conditions by moving south. Nor was it a question of unsuitable terrain. The Sahel is generally ﬂat, dry, and sparsely wooded. Moreover, the tse-tse ﬂy belt, which makes equatorial 40 WHY INVENT THE WHEEL? Africa dangerous for domestic livestock because of the parasitic diseases that the ﬂies spread, begins farther to the south.
Most people felt the same. Cattleherding societies stretching from Senegal to Kenya across the Saharan Sahel, the great desert’s southern borderlands, had vast herds of domestic animals, but no wheels. It wasn’t that they did not know about the wheel. Ancient rock paintings in the southern Sahara preserve scores of images of horse-drawn two-wheeled chariots, probably painted by peoples who moved into the region from the north as the cattle herders responded to increasingly arid conditions by moving south.
Horse riding, a practice borrowed from Korea, shows up early in Japan in the form of ceramic ﬁgurines of horses found in Japanese burials dating between the third and the sixth century. So there is no questioning the presence in Japan of strong domestic animals, and it is inconceivable that the Japanese were unaware of the use of horses to pull carts and chariots on the Asian mainland. Yet down to the mid-nineteenth century, horses were seldom or never used to pull vehicles. As for oxen, which the Japanese used to pull plows, they too were rarely harnessed to carts and never to four-wheeled wagons.
A Short History of the World by Christopher Lascelles