Greek fire

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Greek fire,

a flammable composition believed to have consisted of sulfur, naphtha, and quicklime. Although known in antiquity, it was first employed on a large scale by the Byzantines. Bronze tubes that emitted jets of liquid fire were mounted on the prows of their galleys and on the walls of Constantinople. The Byzantines in 678 and again in 717–18 destroyed two Saracen fleets with Greek fire.

Greek Fire


an incendiary mixture that was used in the seventh to 15th centuries in sea battles and during sieges of fortresses. Greek fire probably consisted of resin, rosin, sulfur, saltpeter, and other substances; its flame could not be extinguished by water. In 673 the Greeks, who had borrowed it from the Arabs, successfully used it in the defense of Constantinople. The ignited mixture was hurled at enemy ships in kegs and also from special copper tubes that were installed on the prow and sides of the ship. Until the 12th century the Greeks held a monopoly on the use of Greek fire in sea battles; later it began to be used in other fleets. With the appearance of firearms, Greek fire lost its importance.

References in periodicals archive ?
The tale includes: Atlantis, ancient Jericho, an encoded letter of Saint Paul, an atomic bomb, the Nazis, Masonic symbols, Greek Fire, brain information transference, secret texts, a secret monastery, doomed submarines, text predicting the demise of the world.
Greek fire (including an account of a modern re-creation), Byzantium's secret weapon, provides an entree into the military reconquests of the tenth century, and the porphyra (purple chamber) where empresses gave birth is the focus for a discussion of dynasticism and imperial marriages, domestic and foreign.
Through this, Donner does what he does best - keeps the action churning, including introducing the twist of Greek fire, an incendiary material supposedly used in medieval warfare that would burn hotter when water was thrown on it.
The specialist reader becomes annoyed when Crosby tries to be as brief with complex and problematical items, like Greek Fire, as he was with prehistory.
Neither do they give the other incidents which the author of the De ortu seems to have taken from the Itinerarium: the fight with the wild boar and the naval battle with `liburnae', `beaked' ships, and Greek fire.
A vacation with his wife Cath in Greece in 1970 produced what Scott told me was a whole new poetic vision and output, the immediate result of which was Greek Fire (1971); the couple returned several times to Greece, and poems on the theme continued to be written.
GREEK FIRE Rioters throw petrol bombs at police lines yesterday during budget protests
Ministry of Civil Protection, Italy -- Department of Natural Resources and Environment, Australia -- Ministry of the Interior, Greece -- Korea Forest Service, Republic of Korea -- British Columbia Forest Service, Canada -- Sultan of Brunei / Brunei Forest Service, Borneo -- Mexican Forest Service, Mexico -- Greek Fire Service -- Ministry of Civil Protection, France
Spurred on by daily reports of Sherman's march through Georgia, and Sheridan's scorched earth ride through the Shenandoah Valley, Headley and Martin arrived in New York on the evening of November 4th to take possession of several vials of Greek Fire, a napalm-like substance used to start the blazes.
Greek Fire was a chemical combination that was supposed to burst into flame on being exposed to air, but the stuff just smoldered harmlessly and lit no fires.
Among the plots she discusses are a plan to poison New York City's water supply, attempts to spread yellow fever and smallpox, and the invention of Greek Fire as a chemical weapon attack Manhattan hotels.
Greek Fire, Poison Arrows & Scorpion Bombs: Biological and Chemical Warfare in the Ancient World.