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Lot 36: Inscribed Byzantine Holy Hand Pottery Grenade
27 October 2016
Louisville, CO, USALive Auction
Byzantine Empire, ca. 8th century CE. This is a round pottery ball with a very narrow spout and an unfortunately unreadable inscription around its shoulder. It was made to be filled with Greek fire, the infamous flammable liquid concoction invented by the Byzantines and kept as a state secret. These early grenades were filled with the potion and flung towards the enemy using seaborne light catapults or, on land, onagers. Although it is probably not from Antioch, this item would undoubtedly be effective against large rabbits. Size: 3.9" W x 5" H (9.9 cm x 12.7 cm)
Provenance: Ex - Zwar collection acquired in various galleries in Tehran between 1977 and 1979
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Condition Report: Intact, with expected wear to exterior.