The Esseda are Pritanoi chariots. Although considered obsolete by some, these chariots are nevertheless a formidable force on the battlefield. Capable of driving great gaps through an enemies lines, all the while inspiring their allies and terrifying their opponents, the Esseda are superb shock troops.
Place your ear to the ground. Do you hear that? As if Taranis himself had descended from the heavens, the earth trembles. The Esseda come. Although other lands may also bear witness to chariots in the battlefield, those of the Pritanoi, although shorn of scythes and other effeminate trappings of the east, are truly a site to behold. No eastern driver can match the Pritanoi charioteer for his skills, as he runs up and down the yolk pole, all the while masterfully controlling his mounts. Burnished in brilliant colours, with a resplendent Pritanoi warrior in the cart, they are a site which simultaneously strikes fear and courage into those which share the battlefield with them. They may lack the nimbleness of a lone rider, something which can make them appear sluggish in the eyes of those unfamiliar with these weapons, but they compensate for this with their weight and the terror which this brings to the battlefield. A collision with the Esseda can break a horse's leg, whilst the impact of these thundering vehicles is enough to drive deep wounds into the lines of foes. Archaic they may be to some, but do not, for one second, think that this makes them harmless.
Although chariots had formerly been a feature of Keltoi warfare, with Romani sources attesting to their use at the battles of Sentinum in 295BC and Telamon in 225BC, they appear to have ceased to be used in battle by the 2nd century BC, although nobles such as the Auernoi king Luernios are recorded as having used them during this time and they continued to appear in Treueroi burials and on Remoi coinage in the 1st century BC. Only in Britain did they continue to be a feature of warfare, with their use being attested to among a variety of peoples, including the southern coalition of Kassiuellaunos, the Ikenoi and Trinouantes followers of Boudika, the Brigantes and the Kaledonoi confederacy under the command of Kalgakos. Caesar was sufficiently impressed with the British chariots he faced that he recorded their abilities in detail:
Their mode of fighting with their chariots is this: firstly, they drive about in all directions and throw their weapons and generally break the ranks of the enemy with the very dread of their horses and the noise of their wheels; and when they have worked themselves in between the troops of horse, leap from their chariots and engage on foot. The charioteers in the meantime withdraw some little distance from the battle, and so place themselves with the chariots that, if their masters are overpowered by the number of the enemy, they may have a ready retreat to their own troops. Thus they display in battle the speed of horse, [together with] the firmness of infantry; and by daily practice and exercise attain to such ability that they are accustomed, even on a declining and steep place, to check their horses at full speed, and manage and turn them in an instant and run along the pole, and stand on the yoke, and thence betake themselves with the greatest swiftness to their chariots again."
Archaeological evidence for the existence of chariots in Iron Age Britain is plentiful. Complete chariots (or two wheeled carts) have been recovered, primarily from the Arras culture of Eastern Yorkshire, but also as an isolated example from Newbridge, 10km west of Edinburgh. These vehicles were interred as part of a mortuary rite and from them we have a very clear idea of what Iron Age chariots from Britain were like. Iron Age chariots in Britain were largely composed of wood, although they also made use of bronze for horse fittings, terret rings and wheel fittings. Around the wheels iron tyres were attached and held in place via the use of iron nails. These tyres were attached using what is known as "shrink fitting", by where the tyre was placed around the wheel whilst it was still hot, as it cooled it shrank so as to grip the wheel. The wheels themselves were multi-spoked so as to reduce weight, although bronze fittings were also attached to secure the wheel. Experiments have demonstrated that producing such wheels was a complex task, one which required treating the wood so as to sufficiently soften it so that it could bend to form a circle. Production of such complex vehicles would have required intimate knowledge of the qualities which different types of wood could provide, and it would have been necessary to store timber in advance of the construction of a chariot. Sites which probably functioned as chariot production centres have been identified, such as at Gussage-all-Saints in Dorset, where evidence has been recovered for the production of around fifty chariots.
These chariots are best used to bolster the morale of nearby units while firing javelins at light infantry or skirmishers and then charge into them in order to force a rout. They should not be stationary in combat for long as even light infantry can easily kill them and a few javelins will easily kill them.