What was the cost of an Egyptian chariot back in around 1500 BC? That was the state of the art offensive weapon at the time.
In Warfare in the Ancient World, Brian Todd Carey gives some hints, which raised my curiosity.
The Sumerians developed the chariot, which was heavy and pulled by wild donkeys, or onagers. The wheels were solid. With that weight and propulsion, it was slow and cumbersome.
The Egyptians refined the concept, using spoked wheels made with bentwood construction and pulled by domesticated horses. This reduced weight and increased speed. Moving the axle to the rear of the chariot improved stability. Their chariots were fast and maneuverable.
Those chariots were also expensive.
The supporting logistics train required plenty of skilled craftsmen. The book says the following trades were needed to get chariots in the field:
- Horse breeders
- Horse trainers
- Wheel makers (wheelwrights)
- Chariot builders
- Bow makers (bowyers)
- Metal workers
And in the field there would be people to manage the herds of horses and repair chariots.
Ongoing access to lots of light and heavy woods was needed, such as the cedars from Lebanon.