fire arrows


Historum Emeritas
Aug 2006
Pretty good general consensus that the flaming arrow is a Hollywood effect and not actually realistic. The same goes to flaming projectiles fired from catapults. Rotting, plague ridden corpses and long deceased livestock were a much more common source of munition than were flaming objects. The most common, obviously, was rocks. Boulders would be hurled at walls, or what the Romans did was create shot, weighed and measured, so that each volley from the catapult would hit the same location as the last one. Catapults in sieges were generally rare though. Most were simple operations of starvation. Hollywood likes fire though, it makes battles look really good, instead of really realistic, which in my opinion is good.


Historum Emeritas
Jun 2006
But didn't the Romans hurl pots of oil at the enemy, especially on siege missions? I remember listening to the directors commentary on the opening battle of Gladiator and he said they were working closely with Roman historians and though they were in disagreement over the fire in the trench to light the arrows there were agreed that fire arrows were used. I think one use was throwing the clay pots with pitch at the ground then using the arrows to ignite it.


Historum Emeritas
Jun 2006
Jacksonville, FL
Would the Byzantine Empire have used fire arrows lit with Greek fire? I can imagine them doing a lot of damage