Currently viewing the tag: "weapons"

Chemical weapons have been used for millennia in the form of poisoned spears and arrows, but evidence can be found for the existence of more advanced forms of chemical weapons in ancient and classical times.

Ancient Greek myths about Hercules poisoning his arrows with the venom of the Hydra monster are the earliest references to toxic weapons in western literature. Homer’s epics, the Iliad and the Odyssey, allude to poisoned arrows used by both sides in the legendary Trojan War (Bronze Age Greece).

Some of the earliest surviving references to toxic warfare appear in the Indian epics Ramayana and Mahabharata. The “Laws of Manu,” a Hindu treatise on statecraft (c. 400 BC) forbids the use of poison and fire arrows, but advises poisoning food and water. Kautilya’s “Arthashastra”, a statecraft manual of the same era, contains hundreds of recipes for creating poison weapons, toxic smokes, and other chemical weapons. Ancient Greek historians recount that Alexander the Great encountered poison arrows and fire incendiaries in India at the Indus basin in the 4th century BC.

Arsenical smokes were known to the Chinese as far back as c. 1000 BC and Sun Tzu’s “Art of War” (c. 200 BC) advises the use of fire weapons. In the second century BC, writings of the Mohist sect in China describe the use of bellows to pump smoke from burning balls of mustard and other toxic vegetables into tunnels being dug by a besieging army. Other Chinese writings dating around the same period contain hundreds of recipes for the production of poisonous or irritating smokes for use in war along with numerous accounts of their use. These accounts describe an arsenic-containing “soul-hunting fog”, and the use of finely divided lime dispersed into the air to suppress a peasant revolt in 178 AD.

The earliest recorded use of gas warfare in the West dates back to the fifth century BC, during the Peloponnesian War between Athens and Sparta. Spartan forces besieging an Athenian city placed a lighted mixture of wood, pitch, and sulfur under the walls hoping that the noxious smoke would incapacitate the Athenians, so that they would not be able to resist the assault that followed. Sparta was not alone in its use of unconventional tactics in ancient Greece; Solon of Athens is said to have used hellebore roots to poison the water in an aqueduct leading from the River Pleistos around 590 BC during the siege of Kirrha.

There is archaeological evidence that the Sassanians deployed chemical weapons against the Roman army in the Siege of Dura Europos in the third century AD. Research carried out on the collapsed tunnels at Dura-Europos in Syria suggests that the Persians used bitumen and sulfur crystals to get it burning. When ignited, the materials gave off dense clouds of choking sulfur dioxide gases which killed 20 Roman soldiers in a matter of two minutes. This is the earliest evidence of gas warfare.

In the late 15th century, Spanish conquistadors encountered a rudimentary type of chemical warfare on the island of Hispaniola. The Taíno threw gourds filled with ashes and ground hot peppers at the Spaniards to create a blinding smoke screen before launching their attack. –Wikipedia


Fiction Writing Prompt: Create a chemical weapon for your protagonist to use.

Journaling Prompt: How afraid of terrorism are you? Why do you feel that way?

Art Prompt: Chemical warfare

Non-Fiction / Speechwriting Prompt: Tell your audience about the history of chemical warfare.

Photo Credit: Gustave Moreau on Wikimedia

Military Kids Camp

…military-connected students reported higher levels of lifetime and recent substance use, violence, harassment and weapon-carrying compared with nonmilitary-connected students. For example:
* 45.2 percent of military-connected youth reported lifetime alcohol use compared with 39.2 percent of their nonmilitary-connected peers
* 12.2 percent of military-connected youth reported recently smoking cigarettes in the previous 30 days compared with about 8.4 percent of their nonmilitary peers
* 62.5 percent of military-connected students reported any physical violence compared with 51.6 percent of nonmilitary-connected students
* 17.7 percent of military-connected youth reported carrying a weapon at school compared with 9.9 percent of nonmilitary students
* 11.9 percent of military-connected students reported recent other drug use (e.g., cocaine and lysergic acid diethylamide [LSD]) compared with 7.3 percent of nonmilitary peers
Science Daily

Fiction Writing Prompt: Write a story or poem about a military-connected student who is struggling with inner demons.

Journaling Prompt: What inner demons did you struggle with as a teen?

Art Prompt: Inner demons

Non-Fiction / Speechwriting Prompt: Tell your audience about the problems that military-connected students struggle with and give them a call to action to help.

Photo Credit: Army Sustainment Command on Flickr

Titan missile in its silo

On 26 September 1983, the nuclear early warning system of the Soviet Union twice reported the launch of American Minuteman intercontinental ballistic missiles from bases in the United States. These missile attack warnings were correctly identified as a false alarm by Stanislav Yevgrafovich Petrov, an officer of the Soviet Air Defence Forces. This decision is seen as having prevented a retaliatory nuclear attack based on erroneous data on the United States and its NATO allies, which would have likely resulted in nuclear war and the deaths of millions of people. Investigation of the satellite warning system later confirmed that the system had malfunctioned. –Wikipedia

Fiction Writing Prompt: Write the story of an alternate history where missiles were actually launched or where no missiles were launched but the Soviet Air Defense Forces believed they were.

Journaling Prompt: How do you find peace in a dangerous world?

Art Prompt: False alarm

Non-Fiction / Speechwriting Prompt: Tell your audience this story and challenge them to re-evaluate their beliefs about how we ensure peace.

Photo Credit: Todd Lappin on Flickr