Rare Byzantine Ceramic 'Greek Fire' Hand Grenade
Ceramic, 710 grams, 14.5 cm. Circa 10th century AD. A ceramic tear drop shaped vessel decorated with a geometric design. 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. Referenace: 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. Large chip to base, otherwise good very fine condition. Provenance: private collection, North London, UK; acquired from a London Arms & Armor dealer in the 1950's.