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Byzantine, 10th-12th century. Polished gray terracotta, 7 3/4” greatest dimension. Modeled as a dove with relief raised wings and flared tail. The neck terminating in a mushroom form spout. The body with abstracted decoration representing the feather coat which becomes finer detailed on the breast, representing the hackle. Surface chip to the tail, otherwise excellent. These were used in the Crusades, at sea and in siege situations. Known as "Greek fire" these were filled with flammable pitch and thrown or catapulted. Upon impact, they would burst spewing their burning contents which would start fires as well as burn any enemy in their path. In the absence of antibiotics, such burns usually led to a slow death from infection. Constantinople is situated on the Bosporus Strait and Sea of Marmara with a wall against the water. It was both attacked and defended variously by sea. These were instrumental in both situations and played an important role in the Sack of Constantinople in 1204 which marked the conclusion of the fourth Crusade.

Stock Number: FNS8936

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