• Greek Fire, Poison Arrows, & Scorpion Bombs

  • By: Adrienne Mayor
  • Narrated by: Suzanne Toren
  • Length: 8 hrs and 56 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook
  • Release date: 06-10-10
  • Language: English
  • Publisher: Audible Studios
  • 4 out of 5 stars 4.0 (110 ratings)

Regular price: $22.95

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Publisher's Summary

Flamethrowers, poison gases, incendiary bombs, the large-scale spreading of disease...are these terrifying agents and implements of warfare modern inventions? Not by a long shot.
Weapons of biological and chemical warfare have been in use for thousands of years, and Greek Fire, Poison Arrows & Scorpion Bombs, Adrienne Mayor's fascinating exploration of the origins of biological and unethical warfare, draws extraordinary connections between the mythical worlds of Hercules and the Trojan War, the accounts of Herodotus and Thucydides, and modern methods of war and terrorism.
©2008 Adrienne Mayor (P)2010 Audible, Inc.
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Critic Reviews

"Illuminating... Adrienne Mayor marshals not just myth, but also the writing of ancient authors and evidence from archaeological digs to show that biological and chemical weapons saw action inbattles long before the modern era." (The New York Times)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
4 out of 5 stars
By Christopher on 07-08-10

A great read for those interested in Antiquity

The books flows quickly and is very interesting. If it were in print, I'd call it a page-turner. There's a lot of material about Greek gods and Greek mythology, but it seems necessary to put the actual history into context (or in fact, the reverse - the actual use of these weapons puts the mythology into perspective for the modern reader). It is amazing how brutal and unmerciful human beings can be to each other. And how much pain and suffering must have been endured in ancient times. I am surprised that none of the other histories of antiquity I've read mention these weapons. For that reason, I would recommend this book to anyone interested in the period. It also provides a perspective from which to consider modern nasty weapons.

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8 of 8 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars
By andrew on 11-25-11


I have been bragging about this book to everyone. Excellent. Superb entertainment, plus its all true. The Scythian arrow poison sounded revolting and frightening. You will learn of vipers, water witches, neuro-toxin honey- there is no weakness in this book. Every single word feels vital. You get no filler, no slow spots, no long editorials. Every chapter is fascinating and enlightening. Flaming pigs! War elephants. Its the ultimate brainy MAN book, but I think anyone would enjoy it. A great war history, that may even appeal to those who don't normally like non-fiction. The narration is good. Lively and far from the monotone you often get in "heady" books.

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6 of 6 people found this review helpful

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
5 out of 5 stars
By kingnoodle on 12-04-12

Very, very, very interesting

This book is an excellent catalogue of every odd or underhand weapon you ever heard of and an awful lot you probably hadn't!

Wow your friends with amazing facts like scorpions have been know to glide on strong desert winds! Wow your mother-in-law with your knowledge of paralyzing honey (believe it or not - I did)! Sicken your wife with stories of the romans scaring elephants with flaming pigs (okay, I may be losing points here).

If you like history, weapons or historical weapons then you'll get a lot out of this book. Like I said, very, very, very interesting

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4 out of 5 stars
By Dave on 04-10-11

Does what it says on the tin

With an interest in all things military I was looking forward to some unusual ancient weapons and, on the whole, I was not disappointed. The text moves along quite nicely, and frequently draws comparisons between ancient weapons and those of the 20th or 21st century. It also touches on mythological examples of such weapons, which makes sense as myths can illuminate the world in which they were written even though the story is fiction. The book tends to make the most of the material available, sometimes repeating something that was said a chapter or two ago, so it is sometimes rather more wordy than it needs to be, but not enough to seriously spoil the listening experience. Overall I enjoyed this book and would recommend it to anyone with a particular interest in ancient warfare.

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0 of 1 people found this review helpful

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