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Despite being slower and much less temperate than horses, camels had their uses. The first was their durability — on the march, camels can store all the fat and moisture that they will ever need in the hump on their body. The second was that their scent often spooked horses, which was both a blessing and a curse for the military-minded — it caused problems for enemies on horseback, but it could also cause problems if handling baggage, and keeping an army of camels and horses apart could sometimes pose problems. The earliest known instance of tactical exploitation of a camel's scent dates back from the conquest of Lydia by Persia, where the Persian Shah Cyrus deployed a detachment of camelry to spook his enemy's cavalry. When desert warfare experts were required, camel-riding nomads could be recruited as mercenaries, as was done in the wastes north of China, or in the arid sands of Africa and the Middle East.

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