When you think of a destructive weapon, what comes to mind? In our modern-day and age, it’s likely that you think of nuclear power and other types of weapons that were responsible for the controversies of the Cold War. However, throughout history, the idea of a destructive weapon has changed, with new inventions redefining the scope and context that weapons would assume in society.
Though it seems like the historical development of weapons is only meant to get bigger and more ambitious, there are many ways in which weapons develop alongside the cultural fears and expectations of a particular society. In other words, the concept of what is intimidating depends on the society that it is being used against. For example, the Trojan horse may not be considered a terrifying weapon in contemporary society, but it represented a lot more when it was first introduced in ancient Greece.
Did you know that there are even some weapons whose powers are still underestimated by society? In fact, there are some weapons that are still mysteries to us! The “Greek Fire” is one of those weapons, being one of the most destructive forces to wreak havoc in ancient Greece. However, a majority of people still don’t know just what this weapon was and what it represented.
To help you understand more about the history of Greek Fire, we’ll be taking a brief look into this history and impact of this antiquated weapon:
The Origin of Greek Fire
Nobody knows about the exact origin of this weapon, but many people think that it was originally sourced from oil that was found in Crimea. There aren’t exact instructions on how this weapon worked, but historians have gathered that the oil would be heated up significantly and then was put into a long tube, subsequently spitting it out like flames.
If you think this sounds like a flamethrower, you’re not wrong—Greek Fire definitely feels reminiscent of that piece of modern technology. However, you must remember that the ancient Greeks were centuries away from the invention of flamethrowers, making the invention of Greek Fire an even more impressive technological feat.
Though the exact inventor of Greek Fire is often contested, many people believe that it was created by Kallinikos, a man who made a name for himself in Constantinople. Though he originally was from Heliopolis (what would now be referred to as Lebanon), he decided to travel to Constantinople between 674 AD as the Byzantine Empire was still suffering from war-related injuries.
It was in Constantinople that Kallinikos would invent Greek Fire, eventually showing others how this unique weapon could be used to completely destroy other empires in war. One of the most notable examples of Greek Fire being referred to is from 941 AD when the weapon was used against Russians during an invasion. Apparently the effects of the weapon were so terrifying that many people were committing suicide as a way of escaping the painful effects of Greek Fire.