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Description - A History of Greek Fire and Gunpowder by J. R. Partington

For nearly 600 years, firearms derived from gunpowder and other chemicals were the weapons of war. This text provides a world survey of the evolution of incendiary devices using gunpowder, "Greek fire" and saltpetre. "Greek fire", a composition believed to be made from a distilled petroleum fraction and other ingredients (but not saltpetre), was used in the Siege of Constantinople and during the Crusades. The text examines its antecedents - other incendiary devices used in ancient warfare - and looks at European gunpowder recipe books ("The Latin Book of Fire", "Belifortis" and "Feuerwerkbuch"), and at the history of infernal machines, mines, canons, small arms and artillery. The book includes chapters on gunpowder and weapons in Muslim lands, India and China, including fire books, the use of gunpowder as a propellant, the artillery of the Mughal Emperors, and the use of saltpetre in explosives. It traces the development of gunpowder to 11th-century China, and cites the first-known mention and picture of a firearm in 1326.

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Book Details

ISBN: 9780801859540
ISBN-10: 0801859549
Format: Paperback / softback
(254mm x 178mm x 25mm)
Pages: 416
Imprint: Johns Hopkins University Press
Publisher: Johns Hopkins University Press
Publish Date: 27-Nov-1998
Country of Publication: United States

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Author Biography - J. R. Partington

James Riddick Partington was a distinguished historian of science and a professor of chemistry at the University of London. Bert S. Hall is an associate professor at the University of Toronto's Institute for the History and Philosophy of Science and Technology and the author of Weapons and Warfare in Renaissance Europe: Gunpowder, Technology, and Tactics, also available from Johns Hopkins.

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