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ISBN:0715632574
Author: Adrienne Mayor
ISBN13: 978-0715632574
Title: Greek Fire, Poison Arrows, and Scorpion Bombs: Biological and Chemical Warfare in the Ancient World
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ePUB size: 1680 kb
FB2 size: 1738 kb
DJVU size: 1765 kb
Language: English
Category: Military
Publisher: Duckworth Pub; 2nd edition (April 2004)
Pages: 319

Greek Fire, Poison Arrows, and Scorpion Bombs: Biological and Chemical Warfare in the Ancient World by Adrienne Mayor



Chapter 6 - ANIMAL ALLIES AND SCORPION BOMBS. Chapter 7 - INFERNAL FIRE. Afterword: the many-headed hydra. Blowback, Hannibal’s secret weapon: After reading Adrienne Mayor’s book about chemical and biological warfare in the ancient world and John Prevas’s book about Hannibal’s crossing the Alps, I knew I had to take my novel in an entirely different direction. Brad Thor, Behind the Book, ww. radthor.

Adrienne Mayor has breathed new life into ancient history by examining the evidence for biological and chemical warfare over two thousand years ago. There's a lot of material there, much of it gleaned from evidence found in classical mythology and Homer's epics. This book presents one of the most comprehensive and intersting descriptions on the history and development of chemical and biological weapons I've ever had the pleasure of reading. The author has a knack for presenting a wealth of information in a most useful format and interesting manner.

When the Chaldeans sacked and burned Solomon's temple in Jerusalem, they are said to have opened copper vessels, which they assumed contained treasure. Instead, they were attacked by a plague. Her book then combs all the ancient sources for examples of these in the ancient world. There's a concentration on Greek and Roman sources, but there are repeated references to Indian and Chinese uses as w Adrienne Mayor starts with, intelligently, expanding the normal contemporary definition of 'chemical and biological' weapons to include pretty much anything that causes biological harm, such as poisons, noxious chemicals, and beyond, to the use of animals, heated sand, and other unusual items

Greek Fire, Poison Arrows & Scorpion Bombs: Biological and Chemical Warfare in the Ancient World. An important book about the use of toxic arrows by indigenous peoples of the Americas appeared in 2007, Poison Arrows: North American Indian Hunting and Warfare, by David E. Jones. New evidence has also emerged about poisons in warfare in Asia. Blowback, Hannibal’s secret weapon: After reading Adrienne Mayor’s book about chemical and biological warfare in the ancient world and John.

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Greek Fire, Poison Arrows, and Scorpion Bombs: Biological and Chemical Warfare in the Ancient World. Greek Fire, Poison Arrows, and Scorpion Bombs: Biological and Chemical Warfare in the Ancient World.

Several best-selling novelists have found inspiration in my collection of insidious, ingenious bioweapons from classical antiquity. After an Introduction revealing the mythological roots of biological warfare, Chapters 2-7 are organized according to type of weaponry used in historical battles: poison arrows; poison water, food and air; germs and pathogens; intoxicants and hypnotics; zoological weapons; and incendiaries. Nearly every advanced biochemical weapon today has an ancient prototype. Chemical incendiaries and heat rays. In Chapter 7, I cited the unpublished discovery and chemical analysis of a fireball hurled by defenders during Alexander’s siege of a fort in Pakistan in 327 BC.

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Classical folklorist Adrienne Mayor's Greek Fire, Poison Arrows, and Scorpion Bombs is an intriguing, if over-reaching look into the ancient antecedents of chemical and biological warfare. Wide-ranging and well-supported by history, literature and archaeology, it is an excellent reminder that certain seemingly recent ideas and practices are not as modern as they seem. The book is an engaging read for students of classical or military history. Despite this, the book lacks focus and suffers from the author's background as a folklorist  . Indeed, Mayor herself makes the same comparison later on in the book. This might seem to be a minor issue, but such distinctions are important, and it also underlines Mayor's lack of familiarity with modern security studies.

Reviews: 7
Cildorais
Adrienne Mayor has breathed new life into ancient history by examining the evidence for biological and chemical warfare over two thousand years ago. There's a lot of material there, much of it gleaned from evidence found in classical mythology and Homer's epics. Mayor's dedication to arcane research makes her conclusions about the use of infectious disease, poisonous reptiles and insects, and primitive but effective chemical weaponry comprehensible and convincing. Obviously, warfare in the ancient world was even dirtier, smellier, and nastier than it is today. Mayor also draws some interesting parallels between chemical warfare in ancient times and more recently, with some amazing new material. (The British actually used gas in Iraq before Saddam did!!)
My only regret about this book is that it is limited pretty strictly to the classical or ancient world, finishing up with a brief look at the Mongols' use of plague stricken bodies as projectiles against a city they were besieging in the 1300s. There is obviously plenty of material for a sequel, which I hope Mayor will eventually provide.
Zyniam
This delightful read explores the origins of what today we now know as biological warfare. Many books on BW/BT begin their summaries with the 14th century Tatars, but Mayor convincingly traces the use of poisons/chemicals and infectious diseases back to Greek myths and ancient battles/seiges. Those who argue that "moral repugnace" has historically limited use of BW/BT agents are proved wrong. It appears that even the classical Greeks and othe near-contemporaneous societies used venoms, toxins, plant alkaloids, and naturally occurring (and later synthezied) chemicals to defeat their enemies.
For those interested in the history of military tactics, weaponry, toxicology, and biowarfare this books adds many news heuristics to consider. (Despite the title, there is very little space devoted to Greek fire. Readers might look to Alfred Crosby's "Throwing Fire" for a more complete discussion on this subject.)
Banal
What an amazing read! Who would have thought the Ancients we so skilled in chemical weapons and the use of nature in such a way. I re read sections of this from time to time as it is so fascinating.
Dynen
I bought this book for a reference text for writing and it is proving useful, but not particularly entertaining.
Zan
A good book in discussing many aspects of warfare often glossed over or assumed with Hollywood hyperbole. At times I wish it was more specific and less philosophical, but that was enjoyable in its own way as well. If you seek a comprehensive understanding of historical warfare this book is a must.
Morlunn
This is a very interesting book about warfare in Ancient Times.The Title of this book is quite explanatory.
Washington
This book presents one of the most comprehensive and intersting descriptions on the history and development of chemical and biological weapons I've ever had the pleasure of reading. It is well researched and the source material is identified for further study. The author has a knack for presenting a wealth of information in a most useful format and interesting manner. Even more than the description and history of the weapons is the insight into human nature and the conduct of war. No one who reads this book will doubt the imagination and ingenuity of ancient warriors, nor have any illusions as to the prospects of such weapons in the hands of contemporary armies and governments, not to mention terrorists. I began reading the book as a text to increase my knowledge of the subject but finished with a deeper insight and appreciation for the historical precedents. For anyone interested in this subject, it is well worth your time and money.
If you enjoy reading and learning about the ancient world, this study of classical warfare is truly one to put on your to-read list. The author draws upon actual ancient wars as well as mythological battles of heroes like Heracles to bring to life the belligerent nature of our ancient ancestors.