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.
Naphtha is thought to be Greek fire, which was a weapon the Greeks used against the Roman navy.
The crash with the truck overturned the bus, '' said deputy Greek fire chief Andreas Kois.
Greek fire, poison arrows and scorpion bombs: biological and chemical warfare in the Ancient World.
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.
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.
This Greek fire was spurted out of pipes into the paths of the wooden ships of the Arabs.
Young Colonel Bonaparte, upgrading to Alexander, will distribute slaughter by African blowguns, phalanxes, tortoises from Cipango, whinnying helicopters from Attila's stables, Cyclopean missiles, and Greek fire to melt Saracens flourishing their scimitars.
GREEK FIRE Rioters throw petrol bombs at police lines yesterday during budget protests
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.