Byzantine highly decorated black pottery hand-granade, C. 8th - 10th 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 a pattern of incised circumferential lines; the upper end with a wide circular rim enclosing the narrow mouth.
Dimensions: Height: 11 cm - Diameter: 8 cm
Height on stand: 14 cm
Condition: Minor chip as shown otherwise intact
Nicely mounted on a custom plexi-glass display stand of high quality
Found near Jerusalem, Israel
The hand grenade was first used in the Byzantine Empire, in the form of an incendiary device. This device, which used petroleum, was highly effective for infantry units who assaulted enemy castles and camps; incendiary grenades, of course, rely on the release of chemical reactions and explosions, which meant that explosive materials, such as petroleum and Greek fire. Greek fire had been used for centuries before the Byzantines incorporated it into grenade form; during the 8th century, Byzantine engineers started using ceramic jars and stone pellets to harness the fire, which was much easier than using a rudimentary flamethrower, as the Byzantines had done for centuries before.
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