A fabulous late 19th Century cold painted bronze study of young Arab mounted upon his camel holding a short shaft in his hand, the bronze with excellent colour and very fine detail, signed with the Bergman ‘B’ in an amphora vase
Camel cavalry, or camelry, is a generic designation for armed forces using camels as a means of transportation. Sometimes warriors or soldiers of this type also fought from camel-back with spears, bows or rifles.
Camelry were a common element in desert warfare throughout history, due in part to the animal’s high level of adaptability. They provided a mobile element better suited to work and survive in an arid and waterless environment than the horses of conventional cavalry. The smell of the camel, according to folklore, alarms and disorients horses, making them an effective anti-cavalry weapon
The first recorded use of the camel as a military animal is by the Arab king Gindibu, who is claimed to have employed as many as 1000 camels at the Battle of Qarqar in 853 BC. A later instance occurred in the Battle of Thymbra in 547 BC, fought between Cyrus the Great of Persia and Croesus of Lydia. According to Xenophon, Cyrus’ cavalry were outnumbered by as much as six to one. Acting on information from one of his generals that the Lydian horses shied away from camels, Cyrus formed the camels from his baggage train into an ad hoc camel corps. Although not technically employed as cavalry, they were crucial in panicking the Lydian cavalry and turning the battle in Cyrus’ favor.
More than sixty years later, the Persian king Xerxes I recruited a large number of Arab mercenaries into his massive army during the Second Persian invasion of Greece, all of whom were equipped with bows and mounted on camels. Herodotus noted that the Arab camelry, including a massive force of Libyan charioteers, numbered as many as twenty thousand men in total strength.
Romans introduced camels in some of their North African military units under the Emperor Hadrian, during the second century. Emperor Claudius is said to have brought a detachment of camel cavalry as part of his invasion force for conquering Britain. Camel troops or Dromedarii were used during the late Roman Empire.
- £ 1,750
- £ 3,850
- £ 3,850
- £ 695
- £ 1,950
- £ 8,750
- £ 4,850
- £ 7,500