Friday, 9 June 2017

Greek Fire and Its Contribution to Byzantine Might by Konstantinos Karatolios

Greek Fire and Its Contribution to Byzantine Might by Konstantinos Karatolios
First published in Greek in Greece in January 2014. English language translation by Leonard G Meahim published by Quest Publications in 2015.

One of my WorldReads from Greece

Where to buy this book:
Buy from independent booksellers via Abebooks
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Buy the paperback from The Book Depository

How I got the book:
Bought the ebook from Amazon

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The wonder of the thousand-year Byzantine Empire could not have been achieved without its armed forces, allowing it to maintain its power in the face of constant challenges from external enemies that differed significantly in their nature. In this context, what had been inherited from the Romans was just as important as the adoption of new weapons and tactics in battle. “Greek fire” was used throughout the course of the Byzantine Empire and granted resounding victories to its navy. This terrifying weapon was legendary, yet almost all we know about it and its use is clouded by the vagueness of contemporary accounts. This work attempts to answer a number of questions concerning Greek Fire: What was the formula? How effective was it? Who was its true inventor ? How was it used in battles on land and at sea? This book aims not only to provide an overview of the current state of research that can be easily read by non-specialists, but also to contribute to the study of the subject.

I bought this short scholarly work after having seen the wildfire episode of Game Of Thrones and discovering that there was actually a historical reality for the dramatic weapon. Although the Byzantine 'Greek Fire' or 'Liquid Fire' doesn't seem to have ever been described as bright green! Karatolios has investigated a wide variety of ancient sources and chronicles for mentions of Greek Fire and this book is the pleasantly accessible result of his studies. Information is presented in clearly defined chapters in which both his knowledge and his teacher's desire to enthuse students (and readers) shine through. My only complaint I suppose would be that the book is so short!

Search Lit Flits for more:
Books by Konstantinos Karatolios / History / Books from Greece

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