Ancient weapons of mass destruction

(ORDO NEWS) — They say that we often underestimate the ancients, that they were smart and smart no less than us. And we overestimate the ancients. They were cruel, ruthless, heartless, just like us. With swords, bows and spears at their disposal, they also looked for means to kill people in the tens, hundreds and thousands. And when they found something, they experienced indescribable delight.

Greek fire

Well, who did not hear about this napalm of the ancient Byzantines? Historical chronicles write with horror and enthusiasm about the action of the Greek flamethrower. The defeat range was only 25-30 meters, but this was enough to sow panic among the soldiers. Especially liked the Greek fire naval commanders. A “sprayer” was mounted on the bow of the vessel and, when approaching, “spit out” a portion of the burning liquid on the enemy ship.

As contemporaries wrote, it was impossible to put out the Greek fire. Water was not a universal fire extinguishing agent here, Greek fire burned even on the surface of the water. The composition of the fuel mixture was a state secret. The Byzantines kept it so intensely that the secret was lost over the years.

Nevertheless, the military were unhappy and demanded from their sages something more terrible and more effective. They searched and found.

Chemical weapon

The Athenians wrote with anger that the Spartans in the war used unworthy methods: under the walls of the besieged cities they burned a tree soaked in tar and sulfur, as well as mustard, excrement of wolves and other muck. However, “unworthy methods of warfare” were used by all parties. Supporters of the “chemical war” were Hannibal, Julius Caesar, and Alexander the Great.

In the 20s of the last century, the French, together with the Americans, dug up the city of Dura Europos in Syria, destroyed by the Persians. Archaeologists have found a siege tunnel through which the Persians intended to enter the city. The Romans were digging a counter-dig – the normal practice of fighting tunnels from the enemy. And then two tunnels met.

At the rendezvous point, archaeologists found the remains of 19 Roman centurions and one Persian warrior. Has one brave Persian laid down 19 Roman soldiers? One of the researchers removed the scraping from the wall and found bitumen and sulfur in it. This helped to restore the events of that historic meeting.

Instead of the usual way to engage in battle and capture the tunnel, the Persians with the help of bellows filled the dungeon with a gas mixture of burning tar and sulfur. Of course, there were some additives unknown to us, from which 19 soldiers gasped and did not have time to run to the exit. And the Persian was apparently the daredevil who set fire to the mixture and shook his fur until he died.

Biological weapons

In ancient times, they did not disdain biological weapons. Nobody forbade him, and therefore everyone was banishing himself as best he could. Opponents pelted each other with pots of poisonous snakes and scorpions, the Romans ejected clay shells with wasps and bees and barrels of sewage into the besieged cities. But all this did not draw on weapons of mass destruction. Few, few killed!

The first, as is commonly believed, the ancient Hittites thought of putting bacteria and viruses at the service of the war. In 1335 BC an epidemic broke out in the Phoenician city of Simiru. The city, weakened by the disease, was easily taken by the Hittites. According to the descriptions of the symptoms, the scientists suggested that it was tularemia – a dangerous infectious disease.

A few years later, they attacked the Hittites. The aggressor was the powerful kingdom of Artsav, about which few have heard today. The chances of surviving the Hittites were minimal, but suddenly an epidemic of the same tularemia began among the army of invaders. Interestingly, in both cases the disease was called the “Hittite pestilence,” apparently suspecting that the Hittites could not have done it. How clever the Hittites delivered carriers of infection to the besieged city can only be imagined. But as for the second case, there is no secret.

Retreating, the Hittites left dozens of donkeys and rams infected with tularemia. The Artsavians gladly caught animals, drove them into their herds, ate rams, and donkeys were used as pack animals. After the “Hittite pestilence” mowed down the Artsavian army, the Hittites won several victories and defended their independence.

Used biological weapons and subsequently. Throwing a catapult into a besieged city the corpse of a deceased from plague or smallpox was normal. But such practice did not become widespread. Viruses and bacteria could not be kept within certain boundaries. Epidemics were never limited to the camp of the enemy and mowed people on both sides of the front.

Since 1925, biological weapons have been prohibited. But, despite the ban, many countries possess its reserves and are ready to use it at any moment – in this we are no different from our ancestors.

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