Greek fire struck terror into the enemies of the Byzantine Empire and I feature its use in my latest book – Quest for the True Cross (now available at Barnes & Noble, Kobo and Amazon).
Greek fire was an incendiary weapon used by the Byzantine Empire. The Byzantines typically used it in naval battles to great effect as it could continue burning while floating on water.
It provided a technological advantage, and was responsible for many key Byzantine military victories, most notably the salvation of Constantinople from two Arab sieges, thus securing the Empire’s survival.
The impression made by Greek fire on the European Crusaders was such that the name was applied to any sort of incendiary weapon, including those used by Arabs, the Chinese, and the Mongols. These, however, were different mixtures and not the Byzantine formula, which remained a closely guarded state secret whose composition has now been lost. As a result, to this day its ingredients remain a matter of much speculation and debate, with proposals including naphtha, quicklime, sulphur, and niter.
Incendiary and flaming weapons were used in warfare for centuries…
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