Saturday, January 31, 2009

Chemical Warfare – Ancient Persian-Style

Persian siege tactics, depicted here at the Chehel Sotun Pavillion in Iran,
overpowered the Romans at Dura-Europos. Corbis

From The Independent:

The earliest example of chemical warfare has been unearthed at an archaeological site in the Syrian desert, where soldiers of an ancient Persian empire gassed a platoon of Roman troops in about 256AD by asphyxiating them with the smoke from burning bitumen and sulphur.

A makeshift grave of 20 Roman soldiers in full battle armour was discovered at the site of the ancient city of Dura-Europos in the 1930s but it is only now that scientists have been able to figure out exactly how they died.

It was known that they were killed while defending the city against a Persian siege by digging tunnels to counter those being dug by the Sasanian Persian army under the walls of the city. New evidence suggests the Roman troops were deliberately gassed, said Simon James, an archaeologist at Leicester University.

Read more ....

My Comment: History is always repeating itself .... including the history of warfare.

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