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Lot 1665: Byzantine 'Greek Fire' Hand Grenade

Antiquities: Day 3

by TimeLine Auctions

December 8, 2016

London, United Kingdom

Live Auction
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Description: 9th-11th century AD. A hollow ceramic vessel, biconical in shape, intended to be filled with explosive liquid and a wick, and used as a hand grenade; the body decorated with an incised geometric design, the upper end with a wide circular rim enclosing the narrow mouth. See W. Arendt 'Irene Granaten des 13-14. Jahrhunderts, die an der Wolga gefunden sind', Zeitschrift fur Historische Waffen-und Kostumkunde, 11 (1926-8), p. 42; W. Arendt 'Die Spharisch-konischen Gefasse aus Gebranntem Ton', Ibid., D. Ayalon Gunpowder and Firearms in the Mamluk Kingdom, London, 1956, p.16. 620 grams, 13cm (5 1/4"). From a private collection, North London, UK; acquired from a London Arms & Armour dealer in the 1950s. Accounts suggest that it was filled with a mixture of petroleum and designed to be charged with incendiary material, probably containing naphtha, the basis of Greek Fire. [No Reserve]

Condition Report: Fine condition

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