‘Greek fire’ is known as one of the great mysteries of the Byzantine military. The chemical weapon was introduced into the Byzantine military by a chemist and engineer called ‘Kallinikos of Heliopolis.’ He also supplied the military contraptions that the formula could be used in. It has been suggested that Emperor Constantine had this secret formula whispered to him by an angel, and he instructed that ‘Greek fire’ would become a state secret, with Kallinikos’s family being its only producers. Contemporary accounts of the fire being used in battle have described the fire to be able to burn on water and to let out loud and frightening sounds whilst burning.
The formula was maintained as a highly secretive item among the Byzantine army, even among its own producers. Workers would only know one aspect of how to make the contraptions used for the liquid or the liquid itself. The intense mystery which surrounded the weapon has been suggested to be its downfall. It’s also been shown that any attempts to recreate Greek fire after its disappearance have been insufficient. ‘Greek fire’ and the weapons used to wield it, have been credited to be the reason the byzantine empire held power for such a long period in the face of its enemies.