Biological and Chemical Weapons in Antiquity

From the Discovery Channel:

The legendary Trojan War was won with the help of poisoned arrows, in one of the first attempts of biological warfare, according to the first historical study on the origins of bio-terrorism and chemical weapons.

“In this celebrated epic poem about noble heroes fighting honorable battles, both sides actually used arrows dipped in snake venom,” said Adrienne Mayor, author of “Greek Fire, Poison Arrows & Scorpion Bombs: Biological and Chemical Warfare in the Ancient World” (published this month by Overlook Press).

Mayor, a classical folklorist in Princeton, N.J., gathered evidence from various archaeological finds and more than fifty ancient Greek and Latin authors, revealing that biological and chemical weapons — horrible even by modern standards — did see action in antiquity. …

“I think it is entirely possible that what we would now call biological weapons were used by warriors in antiquity. My favorite example is Odysseus, whose weapon of choice was arrows smeared with poison,” Robert Fagles, chairman of the Department of Comparative Literature at Princeton University, and translator of the “Iliad,” told Discovery News.

Indeed, Odysseus, the archer renowned for crafty tricks, was the first mythic character to poison arrows with plant toxins, Mayor said. Homer recounts that he sailed to Ephyra, in western Greece, on a quest for a lethal plant — probably aconite — to smear on his bronze arrowheads.

Clearly, the works of Homer should be removed from every library before Islamofascists get their hands on them. Let’s shut down Amazon, too.

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