Unfortunately, secrets of many useful inventions, made thousands of years ago and used widely in early stages of human development, are lost nowadays and still puzzle engineers and inventors by the level of their technological advancement. Just recently have the modern analogues of these several inventions appeared.
Greek fire as mysterious chemical weapon
In VII-XII century Byzantines used secret substance to set fire to their rivals in marine battles. This liquid, splashed out with tubes or siphons, was burning even in water. The fire could be extinguished only with vinegar, sand or urine. This chemical weapon was known as Greek Fire. We still do not know what substance it was. Byzantines kept its recipe in strict secret – that was confided just to Consecrated people and has been ultimately lost.
Antidote against all poisons
Development of so called universal antidote was attributed to the Czar Mitridat di Ponto VI (reigned in 120-63 BC) and evaluation of an antidote – to the personal doctor of Neron Emperor. Original formula of the antidote was lost, but the information about its ingredients has been saved. Among them was opium, viperscut on pieces, as well as combination of different poisons taken in small portions, and ones of their antidotes. This fact is told by Adrienne Mayor, folklorist/historian of science from Stanford University, in his work «Greek fire, poisonous arrows, scorpions`bombs: chemical and biological weapon of ancient world», published in 2008. This matter was known as mitridatium, in honour of the Czar Mitridat VI.
Greek mathematician Archimedes (died in 212 BC) developed radial weapon, which looked like «rows of polished bronze shields, reflecting sun rays on enemy ships». Students of Technological Institute of Massachusetts in 2005 could burn the boat in San Francisco harbor with the help of this weapon, invented 2200 years ago.
Many roman buildings having stayed thousands of years evidently prove higher quality of Roman concrete in comparison with the modern one. Buildings made of the latter start decaying and ruining even 50 years after construction. Secret of the ancient concrete`s durability has been revealed just recently. The very secret ingredient of Roman concrete turned out to be volcanic ashes.
According to the article published in 2013 by news centre of Californian University in Berkley, just now have modern researchers described the mechanism, due to which the super-durable combination of calcium-aluminum -silicate –hydrate binds material. During its production, the atmospheric emission of carbonic gas is much less in comparison to that of any modern concrete production. Among the drawbacks are the long time of drying and, in spite of higher longevity, lower solidity in contrast to modern concrete.
During the Middle Ages in the Near East swords were forged of steelmade in Damascus. The source material is named as «damask steel», alloy of Asian origin. Damascus steel is very durable material. Up until the industrial revolution it was the most durable material known to humans.
The secret of near-eastern steel production was reestablished just in contemporary laboratories with the use of scanning electronic microscopy.
by Taliya Khafizou