Note 023
From Chapter 52 of the Decline & Fall

The vanity, or envy, of shaking the established property of Fame, has tempted some moderns to carry gunpowder above the xivth, (see Sir William Temple, Dutens, etc.,) and the Greek fire above the viith century, (see the Saluste du President des Brosses, tom. ii. p. 381.) But their evidence, which precedes the vulgar aera of the invention, is seldom clear or satisfactory, and subsequent writers may be suspected of fraud or credulity. In the earliest sieges, some combustibles of oil and sulphur have been used, and the Greek fire has some affinities with gunpowder both in its nature and effects: for the antiquity of the first, a passage of Procopius, (de Bell. Goth. l. iv. c. 11,) for that of the second, some facts in the Arabic history of Spain, (A.D. 1249, 1312, 1332. Bibliot. Arab. Hisp. tom. ii. p. 6, 7, 8,) are the most difficult to elude.

« LAST » Note « NEXT »