April 08 Apr 08
02:15 PM
Tuesday Tue

Ancient History of Biowarfare

Adrienne Mayor will discuss her book “Greek Fire, Poison Arrows, and the Scorpion Bomb” about the use of the biochemical weapons in the ancient world. Mayor's book uncovers the earliest examples of biochemical weapons in the ancient world, to demonstrate that the concept and practice of biochemical warfare occurred much earlier than was previously thought. She presents ancient Greek, Roman, Chinese, African, and Indian historical accounts of the practice of biochemical warfare, using animal, bacterial, poison, and chemical weaponry. Other highlights include unintended consequences and ethical dilemmas that have surrounded the use of biochemical weapons since antiquity.

More recent history about the use of bioweapons will also be provided by Dr. Ken Bernard and Dr. Paul Jackson.


Li Ka Shing Learning & Knowledge Center (LKSC)
291 Campus Dr.
Palo Alto, CA 94305

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Li Ka Shing Learning & Knowledge Center (LKSC)

291 Campus Dr.
Palo Alto, CA 94305
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Adrienne Mayor, PhD; author of the book “Greek Fire, Poison Arrows, and the Scorpion Bomb”  

Historian of ancient science and a classical folklorist. She is the author of the book Greek Fire, Poison Arrows & Scorpion Bombs (2003, revised edition with new Introduction 2009). Mayor's book on the origins of biological and chemical warfare revealed the ancient roots of poison weaponry and tactics. Since 2006, Mayor has been a research scholar in the Classics Department and the History and Philosophy of Science and Technology Program at Stanford University. Mayor has published articles on unconventional warfare, toxic honey, tattoos in antiquity, smallpox blankets in history and legend, assassination by poisoned garments in Mughal India, and other topics in scholarly journals and popular magazines, including Archaeology, "Natural History," and MHQ: The Quarterly Journal of Military History." Her books have been translated into 8 languages and have been featured in documentaries on the History and Discovery TV Channels. She has lectured at the American Museum of Natural History, Boston Museum of Fine Art, Smithsonian, Chicago Institute of Art, Getty Museum, among other venues, and has been interviewed on NPR, BBC, and Coast to Coast AM.