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Thread: Toxic Gas First Used in Syria 1,700 Years Ago

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    United States Avalon Member Skywizard's Avatar
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    Default Toxic Gas First Used in Syria 1,700 Years Ago

    If Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has really carried out a chemical attack, it wouldn’t be the first time poisonous gas brought death in the Middle East country.

    Indeed, right in Syria archaeologists have found some of the oldest evidence of chemical warfare.

    According to University of Leicester archaeologist Simon James, who published his findings back in 2009, poison gas was used in Syria more than 1,700 years ago when a Roman fort at Dura-Europos became the site of a violent siege by the powerful Sasanian Persian empire.

    No historical record exists of the battle, which occurred around 256 A.D., but archaeological remains, unearthed by major excavations in 1920-1937 by teams from France and Yale University, and after 1986 by French-Syrian teams, helped James piece together the action.

    Trying to enter the city, the Sasanians dug tunnels underneath its walls. Intending to hold their ground at all costs, Roman defenders responded with counter-mines.

    In the 1930s, archaeologists unearthed dramatic evidence of the fight. In one of the tunnels, a pile of bodies, still completely fitted with their weapons and armour, testified to the horrors of the battle.

    At the time, the researchers believed the trapped Roman soldiers had died after the tunnel collapsed. But according to James, residue of pitch (a resinous substance) and yellow sulfur crystals found in a jar lying near the bodies indicated a much more gruesome reality.

    Indeed, the Sasanians placed fire pits strategically throughout the tunnel, and when the Romans broke through, they gassed them by adding sulfur crystals and bitumen to the fire.

    Read More: http://news.discovery.com/history/ar...ago-130904.htm

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    Default Re: Toxic Gas First Used in Syria 1,700 Years Ago

    This deserves a bump!
    2009 is when Simon published this?

    For some reason it made me think of the Alan Aspar;
    I thought somewhere I'd read that he knew a few such tricks himself.


    Thanks for sharing that though! Omg.

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    Scotland Moderator Billy's Avatar
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    Default Re: Toxic Gas First Used in Syria 1,700 Years Ago

    Yes Humanity has been using germ warfare and biological and chemical weapons for a long long time. It is a shame lessons are never learned.


    Plague has a long history as a biological weapon. Historical accounts from ancient China and medieval Europe detail the use of infected animal carcasses, such as cows or horses, and human carcasses, by the Xiongnu/Huns, Mongols, Turks, and other groups, to contaminate enemy water supplies. Han Dynasty General Huo Qubing is recorded to have died of such a contamination while engaging in warfare against the Xiongnu. Plague victims were also reported to have been tossed by catapult into cities under siege.
    In 1347, the Genoese possession of Caffa, a great trade emporium on the Crimean peninsula, came under siege by an army of Mongol warriors of the Golden Horde under the command of Janibeg. After a protracted siege during which the Mongol army was reportedly withering from the disease, they decided to use the infected corpses as a biological weapon. The corpses were catapulted over the city walls, infecting the inhabitants. The Genoese traders fled, transferring the plague (Black Death) via their ships into the south of Europe, whence it rapidly spread.[68]

    During World War II, the Japanese Army developed weaponised plague, based on the breeding and release of large numbers of fleas. During the Japanese occupation of Manchuria, Unit 731 deliberately infected Chinese, Korean, and Manchurian civilians and prisoners of war with the plague bacterium. These subjects, termed "maruta", or "logs", were then studied by dissection, others by vivisection while still conscious. Members of the unit such as Shiro Ishii were exonerated from the Tokyo tribunal by Douglas MacArthur but 12 of them were prosecuted in the Khabarovsk War Crime Trials in 1949 during which some admitted having spread bubonic plague within a 36-km radius around the city of Changde.[69]
    Ishii innovated bombs containing live mice and fleas, with very small explosive loads, to deliver the weaponized microbes, overcoming the problem of the explosive killing the infected animal and insect by the use of a ceramic, rather than metal, casing for the warhead. While no records survive of the actual usage of the ceramic shells, prototypes exist and are believed to have been used in experiments during WWII.
    After World War II, both the United States and the Soviet Union developed means of weaponising pneumonic plague. Experiments included various delivery methods, vacuum drying, sizing the bacterium, developing strains resistant to antibiotics, combining the bacterium with other diseases (such as diphtheria), and genetic engineering. Scientists who worked in USSR bio-weapons programs have stated that the Soviet effort was formidable and that large stocks of weaponised plague bacteria were produced. Information on many of the Soviet projects is largely unavailable. Aerosolized pneumonic plague remains the most significant threat. The plague can be easily treated with antibiotics, thus a widespread epidemic is highly unlikely in developed countries.

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    Have no fear, Be aware and live your lives journey from a compassionate caring nurturing heart to manifest a compassionate caring nurturing future. Billyji


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    Default Re: Toxic Gas First Used in Syria 1,700 Years Ago

    And there is the reported infection of enemies (and others) by disease (for eg smallpox) by using infected clothing and blankets. There is nothing new about germ warfare and poison gases. I think we just thought we were better than that now--- or it could be that the poison gas appalls us because we see it up close, personal and horribly indiscriminate, unlike the use of drones which allow us to distance ourselves from similar damage.

    That said-- that was a really interesting video-- that was something the powerful Romans had not thought of!

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