‘Greek Fire’ was a devastating and dreaded weapon of the medieval Byzantine Empire. What made it so deadly?

Answer: It was a petroleum-based weapon. Set on fire when projected, it would stick to the enemy easily and could not be extinguished by water alone. Such was its value that the technique of its construction and use were strict state secrets. It was not unusual in concept to modern day napalm, which caused such horrific injuries in the Vietnam War.

Source: The Cambridge History of the Byzantine Empire by Jonathan Shepard

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