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(16,103 words)

Author(s): Colin, G.S. | Ayalon, D. | Parry, V.J. | Savory, R.M. | Khan, Yar Muhammad
i. — general In Arabic, the word nafṭ (Persian nafṭ) is applied to the purest form ( ṣafwa ) of Mesopotamian bitumen ( ḳīr —or ḳārbābilī ). Its natural colour is white. It occasionally occurs in a black form, but this can be rendered white by sublimation. Nafṭ is efficacious against cataract and leucoma; it has the property of attracting fire from a distance, without direct contact. Mixed with other products (fats, oil, sulphur etc.) which make it more combustible and more adhesive, it constituted the basic ingredient of “Greek fire”, a liquid incendiary compo…