Konstantinos Karatolios at the First International Conference on the Military History of the Mediterranean Sea, 25 – 28 June 2015 - Büyükçekmece, İstanbul

2015-06-22 18:16

Konstantinos Karatolios will be speaking on "Greek Fire, the terrifying weapon with the contradictory name" on Thursday 25th June at Fatih University, Istanbul during the First International Conference on the Military History of the  Mediterranean Sea. Read the abstract of his speech below:

"The technology of the Greek fire is based on the knowledge of inflammable mixtures that were in use for thousands of years throughout the East. The Romans came to know of them during their wars and they passed them on to the Byzantines. It is widely believed that Kallinikos, an engineer from Syria was the man behind this great invention. This view, however, is problematic and we will suggest that his real contribution had to do with the effectiveness of the weapon. From the time when John Malalas first mentions the weapon until Sphranzes’ last report of it nine and a half centuries later, the weapon continued to evolve and improve.

What made this weapon a success was the ultimate terrifying effect it had over the Byzantines’ opponents, even if these opponents were the Arabs, who were the most familiar of all with it. The Byzantines knew very well the importance of an army’s morale and used their propaganda to multiply its effectiveness.

We will also discuss the possibility of existence of quicklime and sulphur in the mixture as well as that of naphtha and how the Byzantines launched it against their opponents."