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Headword: Πυρφόρος
Adler number: pi,3252
Translated headword: fire-bearer, fire-thrower
Vetting Status: high
Translation:
Pasistrates[1] the Rhodian admiral used one. It was a funnel. From each side of the prow [of a ship] pairs of nooses extended along the inner side of the hull, into which were fitted poles stretching out into the sea to the waves;[2] on the end of these [poles] the funnel, filled with fire, hung by an iron chain, so that, in frontal attacks or broadsides [alike], fire is propelled out into the enemy vessel, while remaining, because of the angle, a long way from one's own.
Greek Original:
Πυρφόρος: ᾧ ἐχρήσατο Πασιστράτης ὁ τῶν Ῥοδίων ναύαρχος. ἦν δὲ κημός: ἐξ ἑκατέρου δὲ τοῦ μέρους τῆς πρώρας ἀγκύλαι δύο παρέκειντο παρὰ τὴν ἐντὸς ἐπιφάνειαν τῶν τοίχων, εἰς ἃς ἐνηρμόζοντο κοντοὶ προτείνοντες τοῖς κύμασιν εἰς θάλατταν: ἐπὶ δὲ τὸ τούτων ἄκρον ὁ κημὸς ἁλύσει σιδηρᾷ προσήρτητο πλήρης πυρὸς, ὥστε κατὰ τὰς ἐμβολὰς καὶ παραβολὰς εἰς μὲν τὴν πολεμίαν ναῦν ἐκταράττεσθαι πῦρ, ἀπὸ δὲ τῆς οἰκείας πολὺν ἀφεστάναι τόπον, διὰ τὴν ἔγκλισιν.
Notes:
Polybius 21.7.1-4, on events of 191/0 BCE; summary cross-reference at the end of kappa 1520.
[1] The name is more exactly Pausistratos (and the Suda has more than one way of garbling it: cf. delta 635, epsilon 3377, pi 140).
[2] Editors of Polybius have emended κύμασιν , "to the waves", to κέρασιν , "with their extremities" (Schweighaeuser).
Reference:
F.W. Walbank, A Historical Commentary on Polybius, iii (Oxford 1979) 97-99
Keywords: biography; geography; historiography; history; military affairs; science and technology; trade and manufacture
Translated by: David Whitehead on 30 October 2001@07:34:05.
Vetted by:
Catharine Roth on 6 October 2002@00:54:22.
David Whitehead (expanded primary note; cosmetics) on 30 June 2004@07:04:43.
David Whitehead (x-ref; more keywords) on 24 March 2011@05:56:28.
David Whitehead on 1 December 2011@09:53:24.
David Whitehead on 24 October 2013@07:28:51.

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