Rus Articles Journal

How ancient Iskorosten burned down? Part 2

B “Stories of temporary years“ it is told that in 941 the Kiev prince Igor Starshy (Old) led the fleet across the Black Sea to walls of Byzantium. Constantinople vasilevs Roman dispatched towards Russian the troops led by the strategist Feofan Patriky. Here is how Igor`s campaign in modern translation is described:

“Then Russians went to Greeks. Between them there was a cruel fight. Greeks met them by the boats and began to throw pipes fire in the Russian boats. Also there was a terrible show. Russians, having seen on itself a flame, began to jump in water sea, wishing to escape by swimming. Then there are a lot of people of Russians and their boats Greeks were burned and sunk“.

The Byzantine eyewitnesses claimed that no more than 15 Greek ships put to flight thousand Russian fleet.

News of circumstances of defeat reached Russia soon. When Russians came back to the earth, told tribespeople what occurred. “At Greeks, - they said, - there is something similar to a heavenly lightning, they started up it on us and burned. Therefore we did not manage to subdue them“. The first acquaintance rusichy with “the Greek fire“ was gloomy. And it, certainly, made due impression.

What the weapon was?

In 674 Vizanty (modern Istanbul) fell into a difficult situation: it was surrounded by Islamic armies of Caliphs of Damascus. The Syrian architect and the chemist Kallikon invented a secret weapon of the Byzantine empire - “the Greek fire“ which formula so carefully disappeared that all its components also still are definitely not known. The fleet besieging the city was cruelly struck with massive attack of “the Greek fire“.

The military writer Mark Grek in the 13th century casually mentioned that “the Greek fire“ contained saltpeter, sulfur, gasoline, pine pitch and gum. It or was let a stream on the enemy ships from the pump, or filled in in sinks and thrown from catapults.

I. S. Dybov suggested that the princess Olga which appeared in an impasse asked for the help Byzantines. Therefore it was also necessary to wait so long: to Constantinople the way is remote. Olga`s ambassadors (secretly, certainly) arrived to the capital of Byzantium, after long negotiations signed the contract and received that why they arrived - “the Greek fire“.

The contract with Russians was not recorded anywhere as was contrary to the Byzantine laws forbidding arms supplies to “barbarians“ including Kievan Rus`. It was generous gift of the empire to the princess - the pagan! But also the payment for it was considerable: possibly, the subsequent address of Olga to Christianity was a condition or one of conditions (main thing).

In an early autumn of 946 the weapon was delivered under Iskorosten and applied fully: the city was burned out completely. At night hundreds of fiery “arrows“ with hissing and a rumble soared up into the sky and fell upon the fateful city. By the way, not therefore whether Olga also ordered to let out “birds“ with nightfall?

The striking influence of rockets at their mass application was considerable too. Bearing on itself a charge of any incendiary substance, like napalm (“the Greek fire“), such “fiery birds“ quite could fill with a flame the whole city even from one volley, and fire at the same time flashed in many places at once. As in Iskorostena, for example.

Against the besieged cities this weapon could be even more effective as to the city it was possible to bring in principle some rockets with “the Greek fire“, and for their start to use the elementary wooden frames. One volley - and the city on fire. As Iskorosten.

As the contract between Olga and Byzantium was confidential, to the world the “pigeon“ legend urged and to hide up to now true circumstances of destruction of the drevlyansky capital was let out.