Eileen Stephenson: Review of Greek Fire and its Contribution to Byzantine Might

26/09/2016 14:02

A new review of "Greek Fire and its Contribution to Byzantine Might" is now posted in "Remembering the Byzantines" blog. it is written by Eileen Stephenson who is a talented author from the USA with a passion for Byzantium. Her book "Tales of Byzantium: A Selection of Short Stories" is available in e- book and paperback. You can read the beggining of the review below.

"I happened upon this short book on Amazon in my ongoing search for knowledge on the Byzantine/Eastern Roman Empire. The author is Greek and holds a post-graduate degree in Byzantine studies from the University of Crete. The book was also published in Greek and most of the footnotes are in Greek. Many references are to Greek authors, with a number of others (Haldon, Treadgold, Kazhdan, Magdalino and Ostrogorsky) who will be familiar to English speakers interested in the Byzantines. 

The historical record says that the substance known as Greek fire was developed by a Syrian named Kallinikos in the 7th century. However, prior to that time, liquid incendiaries were known to Persians and other civilizations in the Middle East. But it was Kallinikos who developed this mixture into a lethally effective weapon that protected the empire from invasions and rebels for centuries.

Many theories have been suggested about the chemical recipe used to create Greek fire. It seems likely that the concoction included naphtha, lime and oil. Other possible ingredients were sulphur and resin. The book seems to imply, but never states specifically, that it was possible that the particular mixture may have changed, depending on the available ingredients."

The rest of the interview can be found  here .