Medieval Islamic Fire Grenades

Further Evidence from a Military Context


  • David Nicolle Independent Schoar



Al-Maḥzūn fī jāmīʾ al-funūn, Ibn ʿAranbughā al-Zardkāsh, karrāz, karrāz shāmī, Kitāb al-ʾanīq fīʾl-manājīq, Kitāb al-Furūsiya wa al-manāṣib al-ḥarbīya, manjanīq, misʾāyir, MMuḥammad Ibn Yacqūb, muḥriqāt, naffāṭah, naffaṭīn, nafṭ, Najm al-Dīn Ḥassan al-Ramm, Islamic, Fire grenades, Medieval, Islamic Military Equipment


Some fragments of broken sphero-conical vessels were found in one of the southern Towers of the Citadel of Damascus. Though not unusual in themselves, these fragments are of particular interest because they formed part of a cache of Islamic military equipment dating from the 13th and 14th centuries. Such an association might lend weight to the theory that such vessels had a military function; for example being used as incendiary or even semi-explosive grenades. This article considers such a possibility and compares the fragments with others found across a large part of the medieval Islamic world, and indeed beyond. The article also offers a survey of historical, archaeological and iconographic evidence for the use of incendiary grenades within medieval Islamic military tradition and technology.


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How to Cite

Nicolle, D. (2017). Medieval Islamic Fire Grenades: Further Evidence from a Military Context. Journal of Islamic Archaeology, 3(2), 153–162.