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I just remembered reading something about ancient Greek engineers who were in possession of a double piston machine, not used for war (except in ad hoc situations), but rather in construction or something similar. It was in one of the above articles I believe.
I'm confused.
Any literature on Byzantine grenades, both incendiary and explosive?

See those ones...10th c....fairly early ones, arent they?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:Liqu ... Chania.jpg
Now you're telling me they had grenades? Incredible!
This site has numerous Skylitzes illustrations: [url:25fyn9kk]http://www.oronoz.com/muestrafotostitulos.php?id=BIZANTINA&tabla=Claves&pedido=BIZANTINA&_pagi_pg=1[/url]
Dear all,

I am currently working on an essay about the mysterious "Greek fire".
My aim is to investigate translations of authentic Byzantine sources in order to find out more about the way "Greek fire" was used, what its chemical composition might have been, what physical properties it could have had, whilst taking in account the accesability, strengths and weaknesses of the launching mechanism, liquid components and materials in a historical perspective.

Now my question: Does anyone know of any Byzantine sources containing information about "Greek Fire"? I have already found a superb translation of the "Alexiad" by Anna Komnene (trans. Elizabeth A. Dawes).

Kind regards,

HHornblower

Hans Nielsen
IIRC, it was a secret that the last emperors took to the grave....
but all the best in your search.
Quote:Did the Byzantine flamethrower boast a continuous or interrupted stream of flame?

Well,

According to Anna KomneneSadThe Alexiad, book 11, trans. Elizabeth A. Dawes.)

"Eleemon very boldly attacked the largest vessel at the stern, but got entangled in its rudders, and as he could not free himself easily he would have been taken, had he not with great presence of mind had recourse to his machine and poured fire upon the enemy very successfully. Then he quickly turned his ship round and set fire on the spot to three more of the largest barbarian ships."

"Poured" implies a continuous stream of liquid, so in this case, yes, the flamethrower boasts a continuous stream of liquid flame.

Kind regard,

HHornblower

Hans Nielsen
Hans/HHornblower welcome to the list! there was one of those recreated for a programme the main contents were oil seepage that were found to have seeped to teh surface in pools and pine tar that was used to make it more sticking to whatever it touched. the fluid was contained in a pump and it was sprayed onto other ships. The following is a video clip but there was no evidence of portable hand held field use. you will see evidence in the video of ancient manuscript showing a fireship as well as below i added the same image from the manuscript for you.

http://video.google.com/videosearch?q=g ... l=en&emb=0


[Image: 34d7a174.jpg]

Hope this helps Big Grin
There IS a line in the "Alexiad" describing resin from trees being used, am currently searching for it. I'm mostly worried about the viscosity of an oil/tar combination which might be so high that it cannot be ejected or projected far enough by means of a pump-syphon. It would stick together on water though.
As far as those oil resevoirs are concerned, weren't they most common around the fertile cresent and modern day azerbeidjan? That would mean that the Arabs would have access to those resources, and because they created their own "brand" of liquid fire as a countermeasure, i'm inclined to dismiss this mixture to be of Arab design. (They used Nafta, the oil you are referring to as "grenades" in pots, a far more effective way to deliver such a viscosious fluid.)

Thank you for your help!
Good night for now,

Kind regards,

HHornblower

Hans Nielsen
Quote:Dear all,

I am currently working on an essay about the mysterious "Greek fire".

God must have sent you, because I am currently doing the same thing! I actually I dug up a well-researched Dutch source yesterday. It also has an extensive bibliography of English material, along with a list of primary sources:

Bart de Graeve: Het griekse vuur: De realiteit achter de mythe. Universität Leuven, 2001 (Lizentiatsarbeit). http://www.ethesis.net/grieks_vuur/grieks_vuur.pdf

The most recent research has been done by Haldon:
Byzantine Style, Religion, and Civilization: In Honour of Sir Steven
Runciman. Edited by Elizabeth M. Jeffreys. (Cambridge: Cambridge
University Press. 2007. Pp. lvi, 436. $145.00.)

Among the contributions, the following are especially
interesting and useful: the valuable update by John Haldon,“‘Greek Fire’
Revisited: Recent and Current Researchâ€
How on earth did you come across this source? Confusedhock:
This is absolutely amazing!
I definately owe you one Big Grin .
I'm certainly going to trace most of those sources so i can interpretate them myself.
I've tried to locate that paper by Haldon (Greek fire revisited) but i've so far been unsuccesful. I don't think its available on the internet, at least, not with Google or Google scholar.

Thank you

Kind regards,

HHornblower,

Hans Nielsen

Ps: Are you doing a "promovendus" on Greek fire? ie, your promotion to Dr.?
Speaking of Greek fire. Has anyone seen these before or got a refernce for them. Grenades that were filled with liquid fire (Υγρό Πυρ) from the fortress of Chania (Χανιά) 10th and 12th century. National Historical Museum, Athens, Greece.
Greek fire grenades

I especially love those caltrops does anyone know of an archeological report or reference for this particular find - definitely part of an infantrymans kit.
Quote:Speaking of Greek fire. Has anyone seen these before or got a refernce for them. Grenades that were filled with liquid fire (Υγρό Πυρ) from the fortress of Chania (Χανιά) 10th and 12th century. National Historical Museum, Athens, Greece.
Greek fire grenades

I especially love those caltrops does anyone know of an archeological report or reference for this particular find - definitely part of an infantrymans kit.

The find is amazing. It is definitely a loss that so few Greek secondary sources are found at Wikipedia. This allows articles such as these, which put in doubt much of Byzantine warfare (grenades were know by the 9th c. even in the Arab Near East, but I cannot prove it without adequate sources).

Anyway, a starting point may be (grenades at the time of the crusades): Peter Pentz: A medieval workshop for producing 'Greek fire' grenades, Antiquity, Volume: 62 Number: 234 Page: 89–93
Are there any references of Byzantine military activity in the Levant during the crusades? (Ie. were the Byzantines actively engaging saracen forces alongside the crusaders?) I cannot think of a reason why they would pass one of their most well-kept secrets along to the crusaders, so if greek fire handgrenades were used during the crusades, they would have been used by Byzantine soldiers.
This leads to another point of discussion. Even if only Byzantine elite soldiers were equipped with grenades filled with greek fire, it dramatically increases the probability that foes will either find ways to protect themselves or worse, capture a sample. It just isen't common sense to send your foot soldiers off with your most precious weapon as an allied force.

Regards,

HHornblower
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