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Manwon Lender

Greek Fire: Byzantine Weapon of Mass Destruction and the theoretical method used to make it

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Manwon Lender

Greek Fire was an incendiary weapon first used in Byzantine warfare in 678 CE. The napalm of ancient warfare, the highly flammable liquid was made of secret ingredients and used both in catapulted incendiary bombs and sprayed under pressure so as to launch flames at enemy ships and fortifications. It was also used with success in defensive situations. Greek Fire became the most devastating weapon of Christendom for over seven centuries and ensured that Constantinople resisted all comers. Emperor Romanos II (r. 959-963 CE) knew its value and declared three things must absolutely never reach foreign hands: the Byzantine imperial regalia, any royal princess, and Greek Fire. As it turned out, the first two were, on occasion, bestowed on foreign rulers but never the third.

https://brewminate.com/greek-fire-byzantine-weapon-of-mass-destruction/

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Jon101

No.

 

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rashore
28 minutes ago, Jon101 said:

No.

 

No what? Elaborate on your response, otherwise you are just topic bashing. 

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Manwon Lender
2 minutes ago, rashore said:

No what? Elaborate on your response, otherwise you are just topic bashing. 

Thank you this same individual has done this in the last hour to some of the other threads I started, I don't understand why a new member would act in this manner.

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rashore
3 minutes ago, Manwon Lender said:

Thank you this same individual has done this in the last hour to some of the other threads I started, I don't understand why a new member would act in this manner.

Not that new, they have been here for several years. But regardless of how long or short of a time that someone has been a member here, just saying "no" without elaboration to a topic is bashing and not conducive for a constructive discussion of the topic. But let us not further discuss that member, it's on them to come back and elaborate or not on the topic. 

Do you have any particular opinions on the OP, or just posting an interesting conversation starter?

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Manwon Lender
13 minutes ago, rashore said:

Not that new, they have been here for several years. But regardless of how long or short of a time that someone has been a member here, just saying "no" without elaboration to a topic is bashing and not conducive for a constructive discussion of the topic. But let us not further discuss that member, it's on them to come back and elaborate or not on the topic. 

Do you have any particular opinions on the OP, or just posting an interesting conversation starter?

I would not say I have opinions as much as .I have a great deal if interest in this Topic. In reality today the ingredients that produced Greek Fire are still unknown, and even in the article I started this thread with they can on offer theory. So in that respect I thought it would be an interesting discussion, and a learning experience for anyone  who chooses to participate.

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Jon101

My 'No' was a response to the OP, but, I agree it was pithily and blithely short. My apologies to both of you.

I shall elaborate, thus: It wasn't ''the most devastating weapon of Christendom for over seven centuries and ensured that Constantinople resisted all comers'', nor, at odds with the whole thrust of the article, was it particularly secret, Caveat: it may be that others used different ingredients, as similar incendiary weapons existed elsewhere. 

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Manwon Lender
8 hours ago, Jon101 said:

My 'No' was a response to the OP, but, I agree it was pithily and blithely short. My apologies to both of you.

I shall elaborate, thus: It wasn't ''the most devastating weapon of Christendom for over seven centuries and ensured that Constantinople resisted all comers'', nor, at odds with the whole thrust of the article, was it particularly secret, Caveat: it may be that others used different ingredients, as similar incendiary weapons existed elsewhere. 

No hard feelings on my part, as far as I am concerned it is water under the bridge.:yes:

8 hours ago, Jon101 said:

My 'No' was a response to the OP, but, I agree it was pithily and blithely short. My apologies to both of you.

I shall elaborate, thus: It wasn't ''the most devastating weapon of Christendom for over seven centuries and ensured that Constantinople resisted all comers'', nor, at odds with the whole thrust of the article, was it particularly secret, Caveat: it may be that others used different ingredients, as similar incendiary weapons existed elsewhere. 

 

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Manwon Lender
9 hours ago, Jon101 said:

My 'No' was a response to the OP, but, I agree it was pithily and blithely short. My apologies to both of you.

I shall elaborate, thus: It wasn't ''the most devastating weapon of Christendom for over seven centuries and ensured that Constantinople resisted all comers'', nor, at odds with the whole thrust of the article, was it particularly secret, Caveat: it may be that others used different ingredients, as similar incendiary weapons existed elsewhere. 

If it was not the most devastating weapon of that time please expand upon why you think it wasn't?

( Also you stated above that it wasn't particularly a secret and that it may have been used by others, using different ingredients and that at the same time similar incendiary Weapons existed elsewhere )

To make a statement like that you must have knowledge your not sharing. What I don't understand is if what your saying is accurate, why didn't you expand upon you comments and explain what you know about the subject. This thread was designed to create a discussion and to share knowledge, so please supply a link to addition information that explains your comments. I am here to participate and to learn so any information you have would be appreciated.

Thank you

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Manwon Lender
Posted (edited)

Here is another link that go's into more depth on Greek Fire, it is from a paper that was written by Alex Roland it is called Secrecy, Technology, and War: Greek Fire and the Defense of Byzantium, 678-1204

https://www.jstor.org/stable/3106585?read-now=1&seq=1#page_scan_tab_contents

 

 

EB13BA02-0421-4B5E-80D0-6B1DB850A53C-31632-00002AF400A5F40C.png

974040A4-9247-479F-9F49-1B93044AD2AB-31632-00002AF47D639F09.png

Edited by Manwon Lender

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Nobu
Posted (edited)

I am a bit of a dabbler and have attempted over the years to create Greek fire. It’s one of the few things in my life I feel that I’ve completely failed at.... so far.

very interesting topic. Thanks for bringing it aboard.

 

I think we all have to agree it has some sort of petroleum base. After that I’ve gone across the board in ingredients. I’m an explosives guy and this has baffled me for over 20 years.

Edited by Nobu
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jmccr8
42 minutes ago, Nobu said:

I think we all have to agree it has some sort of petroleum base. After that I’ve gone across the board in ingredients. I’m an explosives guy and this has baffled me for over 20 years.

Hi Nobu

For some reason when you said this it reminded of the Delphi Oracle and the gas vents there and thought maybe they experimented with it a bit not to say it was an ingredient.

https://www.researchgate.net/publication/11253586_The_Delphic_Oracle_A_Multidisciplinary_Defense_of_the_Gaseous_Vent_Theory

Ancient historical references consistently describe an intoxicating gas, produced by a cavern in the ground, as the source of the power at the oracle of Delphi. These ancient writings are supported by a series of associated geological findings. Chemical analysis of the spring waters and travertine deposits at the site show these gases to be the light hydrocarbon gases methane, ethane, and ethylene. The effects of inhaling ethylene, a major anesthetic gas in the mid-20th century, are similar to those described in the ancient writings. We believe the probable cause of the trancelike state of the Priestess (the Pythia) at the oracle of Delphi during her mantic sessions was produced by inhaling ethylene gas or a mixture of ethylene and ethane from a naturally occurring vent of geological origin.

jmccr8

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Nobu
22 hours ago, jmccr8 said:

Hi Nobu

For some reason when you said this it reminded of the Delphi Oracle and the gas vents there and thought maybe they experimented with it a bit not to say it was an ingredient.

https://www.researchgate.net/publication/11253586_The_Delphic_Oracle_A_Multidisciplinary_Defense_of_the_Gaseous_Vent_Theory

Ancient historical references consistently describe an intoxicating gas, produced by a cavern in the ground, as the source of the power at the oracle of Delphi. These ancient writings are supported by a series of associated geological findings. Chemical analysis of the spring waters and travertine deposits at the site show these gases to be the light hydrocarbon gases methane, ethane, and ethylene. The effects of inhaling ethylene, a major anesthetic gas in the mid-20th century, are similar to those described in the ancient writings. We believe the probable cause of the trancelike state of the Priestess (the Pythia) at the oracle of Delphi during her mantic sessions was produced by inhaling ethylene gas or a mixture of ethylene and ethane from a naturally occurring vent of geological origin.

jmccr8

Super interesting. After contracting for the military I was in oil and gas for a while. And just from my experience I think you guys are on the correct track. Very very interesting. Posts like this have been what have kept me here for years. Thank you.

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Nobu
Posted (edited)
22 hours ago, jmccr8 said:

Hi Nobu

For some reason when you said this it reminded of the Delphi Oracle and the gas vents there and thought maybe they experimented with it a bit not to say it was an ingredient.

https://www.researchgate.net/publication/11253586_The_Delphic_Oracle_A_Multidisciplinary_Defense_of_the_Gaseous_Vent_Theory

Ancient historical references consistently describe an intoxicating gas, produced by a cavern in the ground, as the source of the power at the oracle of Delphi. These ancient writings are supported by a series of associated geological findings. Chemical analysis of the spring waters and travertine deposits at the site show these gases to be the light hydrocarbon gases methane, ethane, and ethylene. The effects of inhaling ethylene, a major anesthetic gas in the mid-20th century, are similar to those described in the ancient writings. We believe the probable cause of the trancelike state of the Priestess (the Pythia) at the oracle of Delphi during her mantic sessions was produced by inhaling ethylene gas or a mixture of ethylene and ethane from a naturally occurring vent of geological origin.

jmccr8

You actually have just motivated me. I’m shooting out an email to friends in a very very large oil and gas French company. I’ll dig for oil and gas exploratory data for the region.

Edited by Nobu
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jmccr8
38 minutes ago, Nobu said:

You actually have just motivated me. I’m shooting out an email to friends in a very very large oil and gas French company. I’ll dig for oil and gas exploratory data for the region.

Hi Nobu

Thanks and I look forward to hearing what information comes back to you.:tu:

jmccr8

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Abramelin

I think Greek Fire is essentially nothing but 'bathtub napalm'.

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Nobu
6 hours ago, Abramelin said:

I think Greek Fire is essentially nothing but 'bathtub napalm'.

 Not so sure. I’m pretty familiar with napalm.

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Nobu
20 hours ago, jmccr8 said:

Hi Nobu

Thanks and I look forward to hearing what information comes back to you.:tu:

jmccr8

Ok so... I should have googled because I got a lot of “duuuh (my name)” replies. Greece is chalk full of natural gas and oil. It seems the northern region there on the eastern Mediterranean is. I think you guys have a very very solid basis for academic literature. Greece in particular around Athens has a very strong natural gas reservoir. Super interesting. 

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Manwon Lender
22 hours ago, Abramelin said:

I think Greek Fire is essentially nothing but 'bathtub napalm'.

I also think it was a form of Napalm, but normally Napalm will not burn under at least the Military Grade used by the US will not. However, Greek Fire does, in fact until the ingredients burn up it would not go out according to numerous accounts of its use. This makes me believe that whatever mixture was used ( Still Unknown today ) I suspect there was a decent amount of Phosphorus added to the mixture. By doing that you could not put it out, and it would also spontaneously combust as soon as air made contact with the Phosphorus.

I added a little video for your enjoyment.

F100_Napalm.gif

Take care my friend

 

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Kenemet
18 hours ago, Nobu said:

Ok so... I should have googled because I got a lot of “duuuh (my name)” replies. Greece is chalk full of natural gas and oil. It seems the northern region there on the eastern Mediterranean is. I think you guys have a very very solid basis for academic literature. Greece in particular around Athens has a very strong natural gas reservoir. Super interesting. 

There is, however, a difference between having oil and gas and accessing it.  We have all sorts of oil and gas reservoirs here in Texas but nobody used or accessed them until the 20th century.

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Kenemet
2 hours ago, Manwon Lender said:

I also think it was a form of Napalm, but normally Napalm will not burn under at least the Military Grade used by the US will not. However, Greek Fire does, in fact until the ingredients burn up it would not go out according to numerous accounts of its use. This makes me believe that whatever mixture was used ( Still Unknown today ) I suspect there was a decent amount of Phosphorus added to the mixture. By doing that you could not put it out, and it would also spontaneously combust as soon as air made contact with the Phosphorus.

 

The one thing I see lacking in these discussions is ancient access to materials that could possibly be used.

For instance, how easy was it for the Greeks and others to get phosphorus in some fairly large quantities?

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Nobu
2 minutes ago, Kenemet said:

The one thing I see lacking in these discussions is ancient access to materials that could possibly be used.

For instance, how easy was it for the Greeks and others to get phosphorus in some fairly large quantities?

I’ve been in natural gas zones all around the world. It isn’t atypical for zones to have  places that extrude gas to atmosphere. I don’t know the topography of Ancient Greece but if there are mountains or hills - there will be gas at surface.

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Hanslune
17 minutes ago, Nobu said:

I’ve been in natural gas zones all around the world. It isn’t atypical for zones to have  places that extrude gas to atmosphere. I don’t know the topography of Ancient Greece but if there are mountains or hills - there will be gas at surface.

Delphi had escapes of gas

https://www.livescience.com/4277-theory-oracle-delphi-high.html

https://www.nationalgeographic.com/science/article/greece-delphi-oracle-gas-vapors-science

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Kenemet
32 minutes ago, Nobu said:

I’ve been in natural gas zones all around the world. It isn’t atypical for zones to have  places that extrude gas to atmosphere. I don’t know the topography of Ancient Greece but if there are mountains or hills - there will be gas at surface.

I agree, and I know that bitumen and pitch were used and collected as resources.  But... having gas extruded and collecting the stuff is a rather different matter.

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Manwon Lender
5 hours ago, Kenemet said:

The one thing I see lacking in these discussions is ancient access to materials that could possibly be used.

For instance, how easy was it for the Greeks and others to get phosphorus in some fairly large quantities?

I see your point and it is a very good. I did a little research and I found out that in acient Rome phosphorus was obtained by building towers and filling them with Pigons. Using this method they could obtain close to 12 tons of pigeon manure each year, which is rich in phosphorus.

http://udel.edu/~inamdar/nps2007/Ashley.pdf

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