Siege with Trebuchet and Greek Fire

Siege with Trebuchet and Greek Fire

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Credit: SHEILA TERRY/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Siege weapons used in the 13th century against the walls and gates of besieged cities and fortifications. The sling of the trebuchet throwing machine has just launched an incendiary missile consisting of “Greek Fire” in a barrel at the defenders on the parapet whilst the attacking troops are storming the wall by means of a siege tower and the use of a battering ram at the base. Greek Fire was an incendiary weapon developed by the Byzantines and successfully used in naval battles. This type of weapon was imitated and widely used, though the composition of the Byzantine incendiary mixture was never revealed. Various suggestions have been proposed which include combinations of pitch, pine resin, naptha, quicklime, sulphur, nitre, saltpetre and/or calcium phosphide.

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Keywords: assault, battering ram, battles, byzantine, calcium phosphide, combustible, constituents, greek fire, incendiary, medieval, mixture, naphtha, nitre, no-one, nobody, petroleum, pitch, potassium nitrate, quicklime, saltpetre, siege, siege tower, sulfur, sulphur, trebuchet, warfare, weapons

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