Now that’s a time bomb! 700-year-old hand grenade used in the Crusades is found off the coast of Israel
By Richard Gray
The crusades saw Christian soldiers wield a terrifying array of medieval weaponry, including powerful crossbows, wickedly spiked maces and swords large enough to cleave a man in two.
But in the bloody battles over the Holy Land, the crusaders faced, and perhaps also used, weapons that were far ahead of their time – hand grenades.
Now one of these early explosive devices has been pulled from the sea in northern Israel.
Although they rose to prominence as weapons during the 20th century, grenades have a long history.
They are first thought to have been used by the Byzantine Empire from around the seventh century AD. Clay vessels were filled with flammable liquid known as Greek fire and flung at the enemy.
They were often piled into catapults to increase the range and devastation they caused.
They were popular weapons in naval battles as the fire could easily spread on ships and cause devastation.
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