collection of hauma hamiddha's scattered posts

Posts tagged ‘horses’

taittiriya samhita and horse anatomy

Indeed the taittiriya in describing the hayamedha verily lays out a
dissection of the horse so it is unlikely to be making up anatomical
details. In fact I have often marvelled at the observations of some
rather subtle organs suggesting that our guys must have definitely had
a good knowledge of the horse’s real anatomy even if they chose to
mention aspects of only relevant from the stand point of the ritual.
Yet note the following mantra quoted from the taittiriya sMhita
refering to offering of the ribs of the sacrifice, and let me know if
you find anything particularly untoward in it:

agne pakshtiH sarasvatyai nipakshati somasya tR^itIya .apAM
chaturthyoshhadhInAM pa~nchmI saMvatsarasya shhashhThi marutAgaM
saptamI bR^ihaspaterashTamI mitrasya navamI varuNasya
dashamIndrasyaikAdashI vishveshhAM devAnAM dvAdashI dyAvApR^ithivyo
parshvaM yamasya pATuraH || TS 5.7.21

Similarly TS 5.7.22 provides a similar formula the offering of the
ribs other half of the horse.

As far as I can count the ribs offered in TS 5.7.21 are to 1 agni, 2
sarasvati, 3 soma, 4 waters, 5 medicinal herbs, 6 the year, 7 maruts,
8 bR^ihaspati 9 mitra 10 varuNa 11 indra 12 vishve devAH 13 dyaus and
pR^ithivi. On the otherside the ribs are offered to vAyu, sarasvAn,
moon, stars, savitA, rudra, snakes, aryamA, tvashTA, dhAtA, indrANi,
Adityas, dyaus and pR^ithivi. In both cases the associated vertebra
are offered to yama.

So from this would any of you all infer that there were only 13 ribs a
side on the ashvamedha horse? What happened to the remain ribs of the
horse? So one may conclude that for ritual rather than anatomical
reasons the text may be silent on some details.

Note this verse:
sUryAchandramasau vR^ikyAbhAgaM shyAma shabalau matsnAbhyAM ( inTS
5.7.19) note how they notice the adrenals and the medulla and the
cortex of the kidney. So they were not missing anatomy out of
ignorance.

Muhammad Tuglaq’s invasion of China

“1337 A.D.

Mahomed Toghlaq had heard about the great wealth of China and decided
to possess that for himself, so says Ferishta. The saner of his
courtiers warned him against doing so. They told him that such a
daunting task was beyond his capability. Mahomed Toghlaq instead
decided to listen to sycophants. He put together a great force that
comprised of 1,00,000 horses and made his nephew, Khoosrow Mullik its
commander. He ordered that forts and camps be built all the way
across the Himalayas. That task accomplished, the army made its foray
into China. The Chinese awaited them in strength. They were far
numerous, better equipped, familiar with the mountain terrain and
physically superior. Mahomed’s army was attacked with a fury they had
not even imagined before – and routed. As they made a retreat, the
Chinese, who had the advantage of attacking from a higher altitude,
chased them mercilessly. To make the matters worse, rains and floods
cut off the escape routes of Mahomed’s army. The Chinese massacred
them within 7 days and just a handful returned to tell the story.
Once the enemy was humiliated, the Chinese returned, not even
bothering about the territory that was theirs for the asking.”

To be precise this massive defeat that was handed to Mohamed bin Tughlaq in
1337 was by the armies of Toghan Timur,
the Mongol Kha’Khan who was then ruling over China. The army was comprised of
light Tibetan cavalry divisions and a few
heavily armored Mongol squadrons. Ironically this was one of the weaker Mongol
armies at time when the Mongol empire
in China was already only a pale reminder of the fierce force that it was under
Kublai, the ancestor of Toghan. This was
also one of the rare occassions when a Buddhist army gave the Moslems a much
needed punch in the face. The Tibetan
Buddhists, unlike the Indian BUddhist maintained a large force of horse borne
archers. Tughlaq’s men while having good
horses were simply out of touch with involved archery shootouts after their easy
conquests in India. This battle is a very
important data point to show how the Turkic armies had degenerated since the
days of Alla-ad-din due to the neglect of
archery.

Structure and weapons of the Khalji army

Bughra Khan gives the structure of the Khalji army as following the classical
Altaic decimal pattern. The titles are different
though the structure is identical to that of Chingiz Kha’Khan’s or the great
Uighur Khan ‘s army:

1horseman is a sipahi
10 horsemen=sarkhail
10 sarkhails=sipahsAlAr
10 sipahsAlAr=amIr
10 amIrs=maliq
10 maliqs=khan

Each sipahi had: a horse armor and body armor with helmet all made of Indian
steel.
-a long sword and a short sword
-a mace (like hindu weapon called parigha not the like the hindu gada)
-a battle axe (like the hindu paTTishi rather than hindu parashu)
-a dagger (like the hindu vrishchika)
-a composite bow. The Khaljis frequently used arrows poisoned with dung in their
jihads on the infidels.

They used 3 kinds of launchers
-manjniq: this was mangonel that hurled ball like a giant catapult.
-arrAdA: a giant crossbow also called a ballista and was the favorite Altaic
launcher.
-maghrabI: a trebuchet for launching giant projectiles.

The Khalji army had the traditional Turko-Mongol review of man and horse that
lasted a week or fortnight under the
direction of the Sultan himself. At their peak the Khaljis commanded an army
with 475000 horsemen in a permanant
weaponized state.

I would like to bring to the attention of detractors that the Hindu rulers of
the time simply never had that magnitude of a
cavalry. Large Hindu cavalries like that of the great harshavardhana were around
100000. Secondly, note that the Ghazi
was armed to teeth and Alla-ud-din ensured that they were maintained well. The
Hindu soldier typically just carried two
swords or sometimes just a sword. Most Hindu archers were on foot and could not
effectively holdout against a Ghazi
charge. The Hindu defensive war was also blunted with the introduction of the
Central Asian ballistics as a result of
Chingiz’s revolution. I shall illustrate all these points but considering in
detail a single Jihad of Jalal-ud-din by
analyzing the military points.

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