Greek fire, also called: Byzantine fire, Roman fire,, sea fire, liquid fire. In Byzantine Greek: ὑγρόν πῦρ (hygròn pyr, "liquid fire"), πῦρ θαλάσσιον (pyr thalàssion, "sea fire"), was a burning-liquid weapon used by the Byzantine Empire, Arabs, Chinese, and Mongols. Medieval Greek (Μεσαιωνική Ελληνική is a linguistic term that describes the fourth period in the history of the Greek language. Incendiary devices or incendiary bombs are Bombs designed to start Fires or destroy sensitive equipment using materials such as Napalm, Thermite The araB gene Promoter is a bacterial promoter activated by e L-arabinose binding China ( Wade-Giles ( Mandarin) Chung¹kuo² is a cultural region, an ancient Civilization, and depending on perspective a National The Byzantines typically used it in naval battles to great effect as it could continue burning even on water. A naval battle is a Battle fought using Ships or other waterborne vessels It was largely responsible for many Byzantine military victories, and partly the reason for the Byzantine Empire surviving as long as it did.
The formula was a heavily guarded military secret—so secret that it remains a source of speculation to this day. Some of the ingredients may have included; naphtha, quicklime, sulfur, and niter (among others). Naphtha normally refers to a number of different flammable liquid mixtures of hydrocarbons i Calcium oxide ( CaO) commonly known as burnt lime, lime or quicklime, is a widely used Chemical compound. Sulfur or sulphur (ˈsʌlfɚ see spelling below) is the Chemical element that has the Atomic number 16 Niter (US or nitre (UK is the mineral form of Potassium nitrate, KNO3 also known as saltpeter (US or saltpetre (UK  
Incendiary and flaming weapons had been used in warfare for centuries prior to the invention of Greek fire, including a number of petroleum and bitumen-based mixtures; however, Greek fire was difficult to extinguish and could burn on water, making it a devastating invention. Early thermal weapons were devices or substances used in Warfare during the classical and medieval periods (approx 8th century BC until the mid-16th  The first use of an incendiary chemical substance at sea by the Byzantines dates to the suppression of a revolt against Byzantine Emperor Anastasius I in 513A. This is a list of the Emperors of the Eastern Roman Empire, commonly known as the Byzantine Empire by modern historians Flavius Anastasius (Φλάβιος Ἀναστάσιος or Anastasius I (Ἀναστάσιος Β΄ (c D. However, Theophanes records that Greek fire was invented c. Saint Theophanes Confessor (c 758/760 &ndash March 12, 817/818 was a Byzantine aristocratic Ascetic monk and Chronicler He is venerated 670 in Constantinople by Kallinikos (Callinicus), an architect from Heliopolis in the former Byzantine Iudaea Province. Callinicus or Kallinikos ( ο Καλλίνικος in Greek) is a first name or surname for a male Baalbek (بعلبك is a town in the Bekaa Valley of Lebanon, altitude 1170 m (3850 ft situated east of the Litani River. Kingdom of Judea redirects here For the 10th-6th century BCE kingdom see Kingdom of Judah Iudaea ( Hebrew: יהודה Standard  Historian James Partington thinks it likely that "Greek fire was really invented by the chemists in Constantinople who had inherited the discoveries of the Alexandrian chemical school". James Riddick Partington (June 20 1886 - 1965 was a British Chemist and historian of chemistry Alexandria ( Egyptian Arabic: اسكندريه Eskendereyya; Standard Arabic: ar الإسكندرية Al-Iskandariyya; Ἀλεξάνδρεια  Many accounts note that the fires it caused could not be put out by pouring water on the flames—on the contrary, the water served to intensify or spread them, suggesting that "Greek fire" may have been a 'thermite-like' reaction, possibly involving a quicklime or similar compound. Thermite is a Pyrotechnic composition of Aluminium powder and a metal oxide which produces an Aluminothermic reaction known as a Calcium oxide ( CaO) commonly known as burnt lime, lime or quicklime, is a widely used Chemical compound. Others have posited a flammable liquid that floated on water, possibly a form of naphtha or another low-density liquid hydrocarbon, as petroleum was known to Eastern chemists long before its use became widespread in the 1800s. Naphtha normally refers to a number of different flammable liquid mixtures of hydrocarbons i
In its earliest uses it was applied onto enemy forces by firing a burning cloth-wrapped ball, perhaps containing a flask, using a form of light catapult, most probably a sea-borne variant of the Roman light catapult or onager. A catapult is any one of a number of non-handheld mechanical devices used to throw a Projectile a great distance without the aid of an explosive substance—particularly various The onager was a post-classical Roman Siege engine, which derived its name from the kicking action of the machine similar to that of an Onager (wild ass These were capable of hurling light loads (around 6 kg (13 lb) to 9 kg (20 lb)) a distance of 350 m (383 yd) – 450 m (492 yd). Later technological improvements in machining technology enabled the devising of a pump mechanism discharging a stream of burning fluid (flame thrower) at close ranges, devastating wooden ships in naval warfare and also very effective on land as a counter-force suppression weapon used on besieging forces. Conventional Machining, one of the most important material removal methods is a collection of material-working processes in which power-driven Machine tools, such as lathes FLUID ( F ast L ight '''U'''ser '''I'''nterface D esigner is a graphical editor that is used to produce FLTK Source code A flamethrower is a mechanical device designed to project a long controllable stream of Fire. Naval warfare is Combat in and on Seas Oceans or any other major bodies of water such as large Lakes and wide Rivers History There are many accounts of the Byzantine Empire driving off attacks on the walls using this devastatingly frightful secret formula.
Greek fire was largely responsible for many Byzantine military victories, and partly the reason the Eastern Roman Empire survived as long as it did. It was particularly helpful near the end of the empire's life when there were not enough inhabitants to effectively defend its territories. It was first used to repel the Muslim Arabs at the first Siege of Constantinople (674), the Battle of Syllaeum (677), and the second Siege of Constantinople (718). The First Arab Siege of Constantinople in 674 was a major conflict of the Byzantine-Arab Wars, and was one of the numerous times Constantinople 's defences The naval Battle of Syllaeum took place in 677 near Syllaeum and was fought between the Arabs and the Byzantine Empire in coordination with a series The Second Arab Siege of Constantinople (717-718 was a combined land and sea effort by the Arabs to take the capital city of the Byzantine Empire, Constantinople The Byzantines also used this powerful weapon against the Rus in the Rus'-Byzantine War of 941 and against the Venetians during the Fourth Crusade (1202–1204). Rus’ (Русь rusʲ Русичи Русы are an ancient people whose name survives in the cognates Russians, Rusyns, and Ruthenians The Fourth Crusade (1202&ndash1204 was originally designed to conquer Muslim Jerusalem by means of an invasion through Egypt. It quickly became one of the most fearsome weapons of the medieval world. The sight of any sort of siphon, whether it was used for Greek fire or not, was often enough to demoralize an enemy. However, Greek fire was very hard to control, and it would often accidentally set Byzantine ships ablaze. The early 20th century historian C. W. C. Oman paraphrases an account by the Byzantine historian Anna Komnene (1083–1153)—daughter of Alexios I Komnenos—about a sea battle between the Pisans and Byzantines near Rhodes in the year 1103:
[Alexios] had fixed to the bows of each of his galleys a tube ending in the head of a lion or other beast wrought in brass or iron, 'so that the animals might seem to vomit flames'. Anna Komnene or Comnena (Greek Άννα Κομνηνή Anna Komnēnē December 1, 1083 &ndash1153 was a Byzantine princess and scholar daughter of Alexios I Komnenos, or Comnenus (Greek Αλέξιος Α' Κομνηνός (1048 &ndash August 15, 1118) Byzantine emperor (1081&ndash1118 Pisa is a city in Tuscany, central Italy, on the right bank of the mouth of the Arno River on the Ligurian Sea. Rhodes (Ρόδος Ródos, ˈɾo̞ðo̞s Rodi ردوس Rodos; Ladino: Rodi or Rodes) is a Greek island The fleet came up with the Pisans between Rhodes and Patara, but as its vessels were pursuing them with too great zeal it could not attack as a single body. The first to reach the enemy was the Byzantine admiral Landulph, who shot off his fire too hastily, missed his mark and accomplished nothing. But Count Eleemon, who was the next to close, had better fortune; he rammed the stern of a Pisan vessel, so that the bows of his ship got stuck in its steering-oar tackle. Then, shooting forth the fire, he set it ablaze, after which he pushed off and successfully discharged his tube into three other vessels, all of which were soon in flames. The Pisans then fled in disorder, 'having had no previous knowledge of the device, and wondering that fire, which usually burns upwards, could be directed downwards or to either hand, at the will of the engineer who discharged it'.
That the Greek fire was a liquid, and not merely an inflammable substance attached to ordinary missiles, after the manner of fire-arrows, is quite clear from the fact that Leo [VI the Wise] proposes to cast it on the enemy in fragile earthen vessels which may break and allow the material to run about—as also from the name pyr enygron (πύρ ένυγρον) or 'liquid fire' which Anna uses for it. 
The effectiveness of Greek fire was indisputable; however, it was mainly effective under certain circumstances. For instance, it was less effective in the open sea than in narrow sea passages. Greek fire should not be considered an invention that solved all the maritime problems of the Byzantine Empire. Naval war continued to be based on the traditional art of maritime strategy, to which Greek fire added an effective weapon for the Byzantines.
The ingredients, process of manufacture, and usage were a very carefully guarded military secret. Indeed, the 10th century emperor Constantine VII Porphyrogenitus cautions his son in his book De administrando imperio never to give away three things to a foreigner: a crown, the hand of a purple-born princess, and the secret of "liquid fire". Constantine VII Porphyrogennetos or Porphyrogenitus, "the Purple-born" ( Greek: Κωνσταντίνος Ζ΄ Πορφυρογέννητος De Administrando Imperio is the commonly used Latin title of a scholarly work written in Greek, by the 10th-century Byzantine emperor Porphyrogennētos or Porphyrogenitus (Greek Πορφυρογέννητος literally "born in the Purple" was a title given to a son or daughter ( Porphyrogenneta So strict was the secrecy that it remains a source of speculation to this day. The only information we have is indirect, or through secondary sources like Anna Comnena:
“This fire is made by the following arts. Anna Komnene or Comnena (Greek Άννα Κομνηνή Anna Komnēnē December 1, 1083 &ndash1153 was a Byzantine princess and scholar daughter of From the pines and the certain such evergreen trees inflammable resin is collected. This is rubbed with sulfur and put into tubes of reed, and is blowing by men using it with violent and continuous breath. Then in this manner it meets the fire on the tip and catches light and falls like a fiery whirlwind on the faces of the enemies. "
Speculations as to its composition include:
It is not clear if the operator ignited the mixture with a flame as it emerged from the syringe, or if it ignited spontaneously on contact with water or air. If the latter is the case, it is possible that the active ingredient was calcium phosphide, made by heating lime, bones, and charcoal. Calcium phosphide ( CP, Ca3P2 is a chemical that has uses in Incendiary bombs It has the appearance of red-brown crystalline powder or grey lumps On contact with water, calcium phosphide releases phosphine, which ignites spontaneously. Phosphine is the common name for phosphorus hydride (PH3 also known by the IUPAC name phosphane and occasionally phosphamine. The reaction of quicklime with water also creates enough heat to ignite hydrocarbons, especially if an oxidizer such as saltpeter is present. Calcium oxide ( CaO) commonly known as burnt lime, lime or quicklime, is a widely used Chemical compound. However, Greek fire was also used on land.
These ingredients were apparently heated in a cauldron, and then pumped out through a siphon or large syringe (handled by a specialist known as siphōnarios or siphōnatōr) mounted on the bow of the ship. A cauldron or caldron (from Latin Caldarium, hot bath is a large Metal pot ( Kettle) for cooking and/or boiling A siphon (also spelled syphon) is a continuous tube that allows liquid to drain from a reservoir through an intermediate point that is higher than the reservoir the flow being A syringe is a simple piston Pump consisting of a plunger that fits tightly in a tube Such a ship was herself called a siphōnophoros dromōn. The dromons (from Greek δρόμων dromon, ie "runner" were the most important Warships of the Byzantine navy from the Larger vessels could also have two more siphons, one on each side. Greek fire could also be used in hand grenades, made of earthenware vessels. If a pyrophoric reaction was involved, perhaps these grenades contained chambers for the fluids, which mixed and ignited when the vessel broke on impact with the target. A pyrophoric substance will ignite spontaneously that is its Autoignition temperature is below Room temperature.
The medieval text The Rise of Gawain, Nephew of Arthur contains one of the earliest European sources for the processing and projection of Greek fire. The Rise of Gawain Nephew of Arthur is an anonymous work telling the story of Gawain 's boyhood and early adventures through till his becoming a knight of the Realm of King 
It happened one night, whilst we were keeping night-watch over the tortoise-towers, that they brought up against us an engine called a perronel, (which they had not done before) and filled the sling of the engine with Greek fire. Jean de Joinville (c 1224 &ndash December 24, 1317) was one of the great Chroniclers of medieval France. The Seventh Crusade was a Crusade led by Louis IX of France from 1248 to 1254. A sling is a projectile Weapon typically used to throw a blunt Projectile such as a stone When that good knight, Lord Walter of Cureil, who was with me, saw this, he spoke to us as follows: "Sirs, we are in the greatest peril that we have ever yet been in. For, if they set fire to our turrets and shelters, we are lost and burnt; and if, again, we desert our defences which have been entrusted to us, we are disgraced; so none can deliver us from this peril save God alone. My opinion and advice therefore is: that every time they hurl the fire at us, we go down on our elbows and knees, and beseech Our Lord to save us from this danger. "
So soon as they flung the first shot, we went down on our elbows and knees, as he had instructed us; and their first shot passed between the two turrets, and lodged just in front of us, where they had been raising the dam. Our firemen were all ready to put out the fire; and the Saracens, not being able to aim straight at them, on account of the two pent-house wings which the King had made, shot straight up into the clouds, so that the fire-darts fell right on top of them. Saracen was a term used by Europeans in the Middle Ages for Fatimids at first then later for all who professed the religion of Islam.
This was the fashion of the Greek fire: it came on as broad in front as a vinegar cask, and the tail of fire that trailed behind it was as big as a great spear; and it made such a noise as it came, that it sounded like the thunder of heaven. It looked like a dragon flying through the air. Such a bright light did it cast, that one could see all over the camp as though it were day, by reason of the great mass of fire, and the brilliance of the light that it shed.
Thrice that night they hurled the Greek fire at us, and four times shot it from the tourniquet cross-bow.
The Dream Pool Essays observes that "There are Buddhist books which speak of 'dragon fire' which burns more fiercely when it meets with water instead of being extinguished by water like 'human' fire. The Dream Pool Essays ( Pinyin: Meng Xi Bi Tan; Wade-Giles: Meng Ch'i Pi T'an Chinese: 夢溪筆談／梦溪笔谈 Most people can only judge of things by the experiences of ordinary life, but phenomena outside the scope of this are really quite numerous. How insecure it is to investigate natural principles using only the light of common knowledge, and subjective ideas. "
The earliest reference to Greek fire in China was made in AD 917, written by the author Wu Renchen in his Shi Guo Chun Qiu. China ( Wade-Giles ( Mandarin) Chung¹kuo² is a cultural region, an ancient Civilization, and depending on perspective a National  The Chinese Emperor of Wu (with his capital at Hangzhou at the time) had presented the Khitan monarch Abaoji with a gift of 'fire oil', yet the Khitan Queen Shu Li advised against its use, saying it was better to attack enemies with cavalry than it was to attack with seemingly useless oil. ( Postal map spelling: Hangchow) is a Sub-provincial city located in the Yangtze River Delta in the People's Republic of China, Taizu of the Liao Dynasty was emperor of the Khitan Empire (907-926  In AD 919, the siphon projector-pump was used to spread the "fierce fire oil" that could not be doused with water, as recorded by Lin Yu in his Wu Yue Bei Shi, hence the first credible Chinese reference to the flamethrower employing the chemical solution of Greek fire (see also Pen Huo Qi). The Pen Huo Qi is a double-piston pump Naphtha Flamethrower used in 919 in China during the Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms period  Lin Yu mentioned also that the 'fierce fire oil' derived ultimately from one of China's maritime contacts in the 'southern seas', Arabia (Dashiguo). The Arabian Peninsula (in Arabic: شبه الجزيرة العربية šibh al-jazīra al-ʻarabīya or جزيرة العرب jazīrat al-ʻarab)  In the Battle of Langshan Jiang (Wolf Mountain River) in 932, the naval fleet of the Wenmu King of Wuyue defeated the Wu state of Huainan because Wenmu had used 'fire oil' ('huo you') from a siphoned hose to burn his fleet; this signified the first Chinese use of gunpowder in warfare since it applied a slow-burning fuse. Kingdom of Wuyue ( Traditional Chinese: 吳越國 Simplified Chinese: 吴越国 Pinyin Wúyuè Guó 907 - 978, was a small independent Wu 吳 (also referred to as Huainan 淮南 was one of the Ten Kingdoms in south-central China which was in existence between the years of 907 and 937 Administration The Prefecture-level city of Huainan administers six county-level divisions, including five districts and one county Gunpowder is a an explosive mixture of Sulfur, Charcoal and Potassium nitrate (also known as saltpetre/saltpeter that burns rapidly producing volumes  The Chinese applied the use of double-piston bellows (this double-set used since the Han Dynasty for smelting cast iron) to pump petrol out of a single cylinder (with an upstroke and downstroke). A piston is a component of Reciprocating engines Pumps and Gas compressors It is located in a cylinder and is made gas-tight by Piston A bellows is a device for delivering pressurized Air in a controlled quantity to a controlled location The Han Dynasty ( 206 BC–220 AD followed the Qin Dynasty and preceded the Three Kingdoms in China. Cast iron usually refers to grey cast iron, but identifies a large group of Ferrous Alloys which solidify with a Eutectic. This fluid was lit at the end by a slow-burning gunpowder match to fire a continuous stream of flame, as referred to and illustrated in the Wujing Zongyao manuscript of AD 1044. The Wujing Zongyao ( was a Chinese military compendium written in 1044 AD during the Northern Song Dynasty.  In the suppression of the Southern Tang state by AD 976, early Song Dynasty naval forces confronted them on the Yangtze River in AD 975. Southern Tang (also referred to as Nantang) ( Chinese: 南唐 Pinyin Nán Táng was one of the Ten Kingdoms in south-central China The Song Dynasty ( Wade-Giles: Sung Ch'ao was a ruling dynasty in China between 960&ndash1279 CE it succeeded the Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms Southern Tang forces attempted to use flamethrowers against the Song navy, but were accidentally consumed by their own fire when violent winds swept in their direction.  The Song Dynasty continued use of the flamethrower.