Timeless Galleries are delighted to offer an intriguing historical artefact - a Byzantine 'Greek Fire' Bomb!
One of a collection of seven recently acquired on the UK antiquities market, this amazing antiquity was one of the most famous weapons in the Byzantine arsenal.
To this day, historians are still unclear as to the exact components of Greek Fire (although it was probably a combination of naptha and quicklime') - however, they are very clear on its intended use: Greek Fire instantly ignited on contact with water, and was used as a means of attacking ships and preventing their escape.
In its earliest usage by the Byzantine navies in the 7th century A.D., Greek Fire (or the 'Fire of War' as the Romans called it centuries earlier) was launched at the enemy via large bronze siphons or tubes, much like a modern-day flame thrower. However, by the 9th or 10th centuries A.D., the use of siphons had fallen out of favour, and catapults or mangonels were used to launch pots at the enemy, while smaller 'grenades' were made to be thrown by hand.
The grenades were typically ceramic (although bronze versions have been found) and were sealed with a cork or wick which was set on fire before being thrown.
This enigmatic example of a Byzantine grenade displays a biconical body with shallow circumerential lines. Mounted on oak and textured steel, it stands around 26cm in height.
Accompanied by a technical paper by military specialist Dr Raffaele D'Amato entitled 'Eastern Roman Empire - Greek Fire Bomb or Hand Grenade, 9th - 11th Century A.D.'
BYZANTINE 'GREEK FIRE' BOMB
Acquired by Timeless on the UK Antiquities Market, 2020, previously owned by a North West London gentleman; part of his father's collection formed in the 1980s. Accompanied by a technical paper by military specialist Dr Raffaele D'Amato (Eastern Roman Empire - Greek Fire Bomb or Hand Grenade, 9th - 11th Century A.D.)