In the origin of cavalry, the cart literally came before the horse. After the potter's wheel was invented (circa 5000 BCE) it was only a matter of time before wheeled carts would appear (circa 4000 BCE) pulled by people and later by oxen. Early domestic horses were too weak in the back to carry a man and were harnessed to carts and chariots. Horseback riding gradually evolved in the Eurasian Steppes, in conjunction with the breeding of horses strong enough to carry a man. And by the 7th century BCE cavalry began to appear on the battlefield as organized fighting units.
In the world of the ancient Greeks, the nobility and wealthy owned the horses and formed the cavalry. Cavalry were fast and mobile, wearing greaves, breastplate, helmet and a small shield. They engaged in melee with a 12-foot lance and carried a short sword for backup.
The strength of cavalry lied in their ability to exploit weakness and disorder in poorly organized or disrupted infantry. The lack of stirrups limited the shock effect of cavalry, especially against well-ordered infantry.
Cavalry in Hegemony are light and fast, making them ideally suited for reconnaissance, raiding, flanking and pursuit after combat. These activities take on a special significance in Hegemony where the campaign plays out continuously across a single map and one battle flows directly into the next.