The History of Greek Fire

gr_fire.jpg


Great article
on the “nuclear” weapon of early medieval history.

In a world where new warfare technology is adopted so quickly by so many nations, it’s hard to imagine that the method of creating a weapon as devastating as Greek Fire would be lost to the passage of time. But the recipe for this weapon was so closely guarded that within only 50 years of its invention, the knowledge was lost even to the original owners. While incendiary weapons had been in use for centuries (petroleum and sulfur had both been in use since the early days of the Christians) Greek fire was much, much more potent. Very similar to our modern napalm, it would adhere to surfaces, ignite upon contact, and water alone would not extinguish its flames.

The term “Greek Fire” was not attributed to the concoction until the time of the European Crusades. Some of the original names it was known by include “liquid fire”, “marine fire”, “artificial fire” and “Roman fire”. The latter was most probably due to the fact that the Muslims (against whom the weapon was most commonly used) believed the Byzantines to be Roman rather than Greek.

1 Comment

  1. One of the coolest weapons employed by the Greeks was a rudimentary flamethrower. Imagine how fearsome that would appear to people over 2000 years ago…

Comments are closed.