- Paperback: 336 pages
- Publisher: The Overlook Press; 1 edition (December 30, 2008)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1590201779
- ISBN-13: 978-1590201770
- Product Dimensions: 5.4 x 1 x 8 inches
- Shipping Weight: 10.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 19 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #678,339 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Greek Fire, Poison Arrows, and Scorpion Bombs: Biological & Chemical Warfare in the Ancient World 1st Edition
Use the Amazon App to scan ISBNs and compare prices.
The Amazon Book Review
Author interviews, book reviews, editors picks, and more. Read it now
Frequently bought together
Customers who bought this item also bought
"Illuminating... Adrienne Mayor marshals not just myth, but also the writing of ancient authors and evidence from archaeological digs to show that biological and chemical weapons saw action inbattles long before the modern era." -The New York Times
"A sound and very imaginative account....Mayor's historical research has made a significant contribution toward filling in the gapsof knowledge concerning weaponry in the classical age." -Newsday
"Mayor recounts in lively, sometimes darkly comic detail, the diabolical stratagems devised by devious warriors for tactical ends."-Discover
About the Author
Adrienne Mayor, a Research Scholar in Classics and History of Science at Stanford University, specialises in ancient natural science, classical legends, and ancient military history. The author of "Poison King", Mayor is a frequent contributor to "Archaeology", "MHQ" and "Folklore", and is often interviewed by NPR, BBC, "New York Times", "USA Today" and The History Channel. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Browse award-winning titles. See more
Top customer reviews
There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.
Overarching Greek mythological themes include Hercules's Hydra-venom arrows and his gruesome death owing to a poisoned shirt, in similar vein to the gown received as a gift from the sorceress Medea and donned by the Corinthian princess Glauke; and the accidentally self-inflicted wound of Philoctetes on his way to the Trojan War. Among the historical personages and locations that come up frequently we find Alexander the Great, Mithridates VI of Pontus (d. 63 BCE), and Syracuse (Sicily).
Topics discussed: poison arrows, especially those of the Scythians and the related toxin known as "scythicon" (drawing on sources from Herodotus, Aristotle, Theophrastus, and Aelian; pp. 77-86); venomous plants used in warfare (hellebore species, aconite, nightshade); poisoning drinking water, toxic honey, contaminated wine, etc.; plagues as weapons of war, i.e., driving disease-ridden animals to enemy land or sending 'poison maidens' to their camp; the idea that certain temples in the ancient world were utilized for storing contagious pathogens (and their antidotes?); deployment of chemical incendiaries and protective measures against them; and much more. While certainly interesting, the inclusion of war dogs, elephants, camels, etc. (chapter 6) in a discussion about bio/chemical weapons is quite a bit of stretch for me.
+ I don't think it's wise to call the respective territory of the Iberian Peninsula Spain and its inhabitants Spanish or Spaniards in the context of Carthaginian and Roman campaigns (pgs. 14, 72, 108, 155, 203, 225), but rather Iberians or, as the author does on one occasion (p. 155), "Celtiberians" or Ibero-Celts.
+ A. Mayor asserts that Hungarians catapulted beehives at the Turks in 1289 (p. 180). Hardly so...Ottoman Turks first set foot on the European continent in the 1350s. One of the first major battles in the Balkans was fought between a Serb-led multi-ethnic Christian army and the Muslims at Kosovo Polye in 1389.
Endnotes (pp. 259-93); bibliography (pp. 296-305). The illustrations are carefully selected; an historical time line (pp. 11-17) and an incomplete index facilitate navigating in the book.
For the most part this is a fun little book. Some of it is rather good, especially the parts where modern scholars attempt to recreate some of the more bizarre weapons. How does one stuff a bunch of generally angry scorpions into a clay sphere after all? (Spoiler Alert: use cold.) Also of interest where the plants used to deleterious effect.
Now for the bad news, sometimes there is a bit too much information given. Sometimes a weapon is to lovingly described and its use overexposed. Unlike some of her other efforts, this book tends to drag at times. Still it's a good companion book to Mayor's "The Poison King" It's interesting to get into the nitty-gritty of what was exactly being used at the time of the Mithridatic Wars and times before and after.
Most recent customer reviews
the ruthlessness comes from that exists today.Read more