What was Greek fire?

What was Greek fire?

In many accounts of ancient times and even the Middle Ages, a especially deadly weapon named greek fire.

It was a substance especially flammable that according to the stories of the time it could burn even under the water.

No one could withstand an attack with Greek fire. It was enough for an arrow to be impregnated for both the ship and the surrounding area, even the surface of the water, was engulfed in flames. Its properties include its ability to float and even continue to burn underwaterand that he stayed glued to his victim, for which he died without remedy.

Little by little he left including in the catapults and in the objects used to besiege fortresses. But instead, what stands out the most is a kind of flamethrower created by means of a cane attached to a reservoir containing the precious liquid. As the enemy approached, it was activated and torches or arrows on fire the fire was lit.

The greek fire It was a weapon widely used by the Byzantine Empire from the 6th century. It was the Byzantine vessels those that frequently carried reserves of this substance to launch in case they were attacked or found enemy ships.

So they got many victories, among which is the salvation of Byzantium from Arab invasions. This was the brake on expansionism of Islamic peoples. For this reason it was widely used by the Crusaders.

It is possible that among its components were the crude oil, thus it was achieved that it floated on the water, the sulfur, which generates toxic vapors when it burns, the quicklime, which generates a large amount of heat when it comes into contact with water, resin, which activates combustion,grease to put it all together, and potassium nitrate or saltpeter, which would allow it to continue burning underwater by releasing oxygen.

But today,the components are unknown. This may be due to the great importance it had as secret weapon of the byzantines. The mixture is believed to have been originally created by a Christian named Callicinus of Heliopolis, and that he had learned mixing in Alexandria.

The would have created in 670 in Constantinople. The suspicion about keeping the secret reached such a point that anyone who found out the composition and was not part of the group of alchemists in charge of elaborating it was murdered.

With a degree in Journalism and Audiovisual Communication, since I was a child I have been attracted to the world of information and audiovisual production. Passion for informing and being informed of what is happening in every corner of the planet. Likewise, I am pleased to be part of the creation of an audiovisual product that will later entertain or inform people. My interests include cinema, photography, the environment and, above all, history. I consider it essential to know the origin of things to know where we come from and where we are going. Special interest in curiosities, mysteries and anecdotal events in our history.


Video: Byzantine Hand Grenades and Greek Fire