The Use of Quicklime in Medieval Naval Warfare

By William Sayers, published August 2006


Whether medieval navies used quicklime to incapacitate enemy sailors and to render their decks treacherous has not been satisfactorily answered. Drawing on the accounts of numerous medieval authors, including literary figures, this article proposes that quicklime was seen as a potential weapon. Evidence from actual sailors is admittedly scant, but observers described its use in naval battles with enough regularity to suggest that it may have been used.

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Filed under: Late Middle Ages | English Channel | High Middle Ages | North Sea | Mediterranean
Subjects include: Battles & Tactics | Weapons

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