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Thread: What is Greek Fire?

  1. #1 What is Greek Fire? 
    Forum Isotope (In)Sanity's Avatar
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    Does anyone know if Greek fire was real, and if so how exactly does it work? The idea behind it as that the more water you tossed on it the more it would burn. I'm not looking to make any, just curious.

    Any clue?


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  3. #2  
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    It was crude oil ... I'll elaborate more later, I'm in class right now.


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  4. #3  
    Forum Sophomore buffstuff's Avatar
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    I think it was a super duper napalm. But I'm not sure. Supposedly, the knowledge to make it was lost long ago.
    Progress isn't made by early risers. It's made by lazy men trying to find easier ways to do something. -Robert Heinlein
     

  5. #4  
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    "Greek Fire" is thought to be crude oil. There were likely some other additives in it, but basically it was crude oil. Crude oil is less dense that water. This is why it floats on water, and can not be extinguished with it. When water is sprayed onto burning crude oil, the crude oil will simply float to the top and continue burning.
    There is a show on tv called Mythbusters (I think it is on the history channel). They actually tried to recreate "Greek Fire" and the did so with great success. The difficulty came not in actually producing the substance. But rather how to shoot a stream out far enough to hit another vessel, whilst also avoiding dripping some on your own or having a backflow into the pump, using the technology of Ancient Greece.

    How would you guys go about that?
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  6. #5  
    Forum Sophomore buffstuff's Avatar
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    A jar on a catapult, probably a trebuchet.
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    Progress isn't made by early risers. It's made by lazy men trying to find easier ways to do something. -Robert Heinlein
     

  7. #6  
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    trebuchets are very cool devices to say the least.
     

  8. #7  
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    I'm thinking about makinfg one. A BIG one!
    Progress isn't made by early risers. It's made by lazy men trying to find easier ways to do something. -Robert Heinlein
     

  9. #8  
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    Quote Originally Posted by buffstuff
    I'm thinking about makinfg one. A BIG one!
    LOL, hope your neighbors like it Let's not be flinging cows now.
     

  10. #9  
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    A jar on a trebuchet would not work very well. There is only a limited amount of space on an Ancient Vessel and a trebuchet is usually fairly large, also adjusting the counterweight to the proper range would be quite difficult when both crafts are moving. Finally, a trebuchet on a boat would not be a good idea simply because as it whips around it would cause various forces on teh boat which could cause people to be flung overboard, or cause the vessel to capsize entirely.

    Ancient texts say that the liquid was sprayed onto enemy vessels, kind of like a water gun.
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  11. #10  
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    Naw. Just the occaisonal cat or to! My neighborhood is overrun by cats, so I figure nobody ill mis them! :P
    Progress isn't made by early risers. It's made by lazy men trying to find easier ways to do something. -Robert Heinlein
     

  12. #11  
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    Quote Originally Posted by buffstuff
    Naw. Just the occaisonal cat or to! My neighborhood is overrun by cats, so I figure nobody ill mis them! :P
    Potato gun works better for Cats
     

  13. #12  
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    Yeah, but I don't think it would get the hight of the trebuchet, therfore the splatter radius!
    Progress isn't made by early risers. It's made by lazy men trying to find easier ways to do something. -Robert Heinlein
     

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    From Wikipedia:
    Greek fire (also called Byzantine fire and liquid fire) was a weapon used by the Byzantine Empire, said to have been invented by a Syrian Christian refugee named Callinicus of Heliopolis. It was capable of discharging a stream of burning fluid, and was very effective both on sea and land, but it was used primarily at sea. It is rumored that the key to Greek fire's effectiveness was that it would continue burning under almost any conditions, even under water. Enemy ships were often afraid to come too near the Byzantine fleet because once within range the fire gave the Byzantines a strong advantage.

    The process of manufacturing the fluid was a very carefully guarded millitary secret — so secret, in fact, that today we still do not know how it was made. Various sources speculate that its constituents may have included sulfur, quicklime, and liquid petroleum.

    One other incendiary substance, perhaps that secret ingredient may have been magnesium, which will burn under water, and is a principal constituent in incendiary bombs of modern warfare.

    These materials were apparently heated in a cauldron, and then pumped out through a siphon.

    Byzantine fire was largely responsible for many Byzantine military victories, and partly the reason for the Empire surviving as long as it did, particularly near the end of the Empire when there were not enough inhabitants of Byzantium to effectively defend it. It was first used in 672 against an attacking Arab fleet, and it quickly became one of the most fearsome weapons of the medieval world; the mere sight of any sort of siphon, whether it was used for Greek fire or not, was often enough to defeat an enemy. It was, however, hard to control, often accidentally setting Byzantine ships on fire as well.
     

  15. #14  
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    Good info Gary, I'm still shcoked nobody has figured out beyond a doubt what it was. Not that we don't have far nastier things today.
     

  16. #15  
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    Kore blimey! So many different concept's to describe the 'FURY' of a women!
    You can buy all the education in the world, but experience is priceless!
     

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    I am so grateful for fire extinguishers in this day and age
     

  18. #17  
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    Talk about necroing old threads. Eight and a half years!!

    Closed.
    "Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak; courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen." Winston Churchill
    "nature is like a game of Jenga; you never know which brick you pull out will cause the whole stack to collapse" Lucy Cooke
     

  19. #18  
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    Quote Originally Posted by adelady View Post
    Talk about necroing old threads. Eight and a half years!!

    Closed.
    Must be some kind of a record.
    Disclaimer: I do not declare myself to be an expert on ANY subject. If I state something as fact that is obviously wrong, please don't hesitate to correct me. I welcome such corrections in an attempt to be as truthful and accurate as possible.

    "Gullibility kills" - Carl Sagan
    "All people know the same truth. Our lives consist of how we chose to distort it." - Harry Block
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