Nautilus

The Hidden Science and Tech of the Byzantine Empire

Byzantine military inventors perfected Greek Fire, a combustible liquid like napalm that could be hurled at enemy ships (or lobbed against land armies as hand grenades).Madrid Skylitzes (12th century) / Wikicommons

yzantine civilization, the eastern Roman empire whose capital was at Constantinople, is mostly known today for its spirituality and eccentricities, including the spectacular church of Hagia Sophia (a feat of Roman engineering), glittering mosaics, sombre but colorful icons, ambitious bishops, bizarre holy men, intriguing eunuchs, and the massive amounts of gold that its emperors had at their disposal before western Crusaders and then the Turks destroyed the empire in 1453 A.D. This romantic image has long catered to western audiences and markets alongside the pejorative (and unfair) usage of “Byzantine,” for unnecessarily complicated systems that

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