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Ancient Greece: Weapons of Mass Destruction

Ancient Greece: Weapons of Mass Destruction

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Item Number:
50 min.
Closed Caption:
A & E Entertainment
An examination of ancient Greek weapons of mass destruction. Host Michael Guillen demonstrates the forerunner of the long-range missile, a ballista--a catapult that could launch a 25 pound missile over a quarter of a mile. Greeks also developed toxic weapons by coating the tips of arrows with poisons ranging from jellyfish, to human waste, to snake venom to poisonous plants. They refined the use of fire as a weapon of terror. Michael introduces us to Professor John Haldon who recreated the weapon known as Greek Fire. Developed by Byzantine Greeks, it closely resembled napalm. The engineering consulting firm Arup tests whether the story of Archimedes' "burning mirror", which reflected sunlight off soldiers shields with deadly effects, was fact or fiction. The episode ends by demonstrating how the "arms race" started with the ancient Greeks, who developed ever more potent weapons of mass destruction to overcome their enemy's defenses.

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