Timeline of chemical warfare


That list is very incomplete… poisoning of wells goes back to walled cities… the Assyrians were often adept at ending sieges that way. Also the Egyptians were reported to have used chemical weapons in the war with Yemen in the mid 1960s prior to the 6-Day War.

Anyone interested in such history… I highly recommend the book “Greek Fire, Poison Arrows & Scorpion Bombs: Biological and Chemical Warfare in the Ancient World” by Adrienne Mayor.


Thanks, that sounds like a fascinating book!

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Kinda disappointed they included the small pox blankets. As I understood it, it was just the musings of the General, and nothing ever came of it. I am sure if one looked hard enough you would find generals pining to bomb/nuke/gas the crap out of the enemy.

Also - where is Zyklon B? I guess it wasn’t used in actual warfare, but it probably killed more people than all the other examples combined.

ETA - oh and what about poison tipped arrows and swords?

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Ask Hercules about those arrows. Yeah… small pox would be a wild ass guess (or even an educated guess) in any case considering the germ theory of disease was a century past that.

For what it is worth wikipedia and other sources suggest that it was done, just not by the musing general, and the Lenape did end up with smallpox but it is hard to say from where. Some other cases are fiction.

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