MT102

A Byzantine Grenade, circa 8th-10th Century A.D.

This hollow piece of bulbous shaped pottery is decorated with groups of incised concentric circles around the top and bottom, as well as a raised band at the base of the tapered neck and a thick, everted lip.

This piece is an example the pottery casings for grenades used by the Byzantine navy: "It was largely in order to contain the repeated and increasingly dangerous series of attacks launched by the Arabs in the seventh century that the Byzantines contrived their most potent weapon.  Known to the contemporary world as 'Greek Fire' it may be regarded as the forerunner to the grenade; it was made up of several ingredients which included sulphur and saltpetre and was evolved in the year 717 by Callinicus of Heliopolis.  The final product, encased in a pottery grenade, was hurled at the enemy from a catapult.  It proved signally effective." Everyday Life in Byzantium, Tamara Talbot Rice, pg. 114

Condition: Minor age appropriate wear and mineral accumulation, otherwise intact and in very good condition.  Custom mount.

Dimensions: Height 5.25 inches (13.3 centimeters)

Provenance:   Paul Ilton private collection, acquired prior to 1958.




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