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The Secret of Liquid Fire--An Early Medieval Terror Weapon

Dumbarton Oaks Byzantine Studies Program and Georgetown University Department of Medieval Studies February 16, 2006

'Greek Fire' or, more accurately--in Byzantine parlance--'Liquid fire', is generally considered to have been the 'secret weapon' of the Byzantine empire. It has remained a fascination for many students of medieval history as well as of military technology and weaponry. Did it really save the empire from conquest by the Arabs in the 7th and 8th centuries? How did it work, and what was the secret? Competing theories continue to be expounded, but recent practical experiments have resolved many of the questions surrounding it.