The flamethrower of Boeotia

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The flamethrower of Boeotia


It was the first flamethrower in history and was first used by the Boeotians in the Peloponnesian war for the combustion of the Dilion walls. It consisted of a scooped out iron-bound beam (ripped at length and reconnected) that had a bellow at the user's end and a cauldron hung with chains at the other end. A bent pipe from the airtight orifice of the beam went down into the cauldron which contained lit coal, sulphur and pitch (tar). With the operation of the bellow, enormous flames were created that burned the wooden walls and removed their defenders. Later it was used for the offence of stone fortifications causing cracks in the stones because of the high temperature and the parallel infusion of vinegar, urine or other erosive substances in them.

It was first used according to Stravon in Kabeira from the king of Pontos, Mithridatis VI

SOURCES: "Thucydides, Historiae, IV"