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

Front Cover
Overlook Duckworth, 2003 - History - 319 pages
This study traces biological and chemical warfare to its ancient roots and Mayor's findings are as riveting in their gruesomeness as they are surprising in their historical precedence. Drawing on a wide array of sources, both ancient and modern, Mayor recounts ancient recipes for concocting arrow poisons; she describes booby traps rigged with plague; toxic honey, poisoned wells, and spiked wine; petroleum-based combustibles, choking gases, and incendiary bombs; and the deployment of dangerous animals and venomous insects. The author also explores the ambiguous moral implications inherent in this kind of warfare: if intelligence and cunning are to be valued, as well as physical courage on the battlefield, then are these nefarious forms of warfare ingenious or cowardly?

From inside the book


War Outside the Rules
The Invention of Biological Weapons

6 other sections not shown

Other editions - View all

Common terms and phrases

Bibliographic information