Posted by: Debra Kolkka | April 22, 2016

Hand grenades

I found some wonderfully interesting information for you. When we were exploring the Castello Maniace on the point at Ortigia, Siracusa, we came across an exhibition of things discovered while excavating the ruins.

In the 16th century, with the discovery of gun powder, the first arms were invented. Hand bombs, or grenades, that were thrown manually after a fuse had been lit, were also developed. In order for the grenade to explode next to its target, it was given a triggering mechanism that provoked the explosion when it hit an object.

Now here is the interesting bit…originally these bombs were called grenades because they looked like pomegranates. (granata)

Hand granades Ortigia

They were made out of metal or ceramic. They were circular with a hole where the gunpowder could be loaded.

It would be much safer just to throw pomegranates.


  1. We visited the castello shortly after it was restored on 2011. Beautiful location!

    • It is a great spot. We loved Ortigia…there will be more later.

  2. A flaming grenade is the symbol of the Italian carabinieri and it is also shown on the uniforms of many artillery forces throughout the world.

    • Men are very good a devising ways to kill each other.

  3. That conjures up pomegranates with little fuses sticking out of the top:). Much more fun than grenades – and those grenades look particularly devilish.

    • They do look a bit evil.

  4. I thought Pomegranate was Melengrana?

    • The Italian for pomegranate is melograno, but this could come from Spanish or Greek or another language. Sicily has had the lot.

  5. Yes it is interesting but I thought you were going to say that they used cane toads. !!!!

    • Poor cane toads!

      • never

      • Read Toad Rage by Maurice Gleitzman.

  6. I love that! The interesting things I learn from you, and your blog.

    • I love these little bits of information.

  7. If they threw pomegranates, imagine all the jam that could be made after a war!

    • That would be a good result.

  8. Always interesting to learn how a word was created

    • I like these interesting details.

  9. That is just so interesting. They are works of art really though with a horrible purpose. Thanks Debra.

    • I’m sure we would have been much better off if gunpowder had not been invented.

  10. Merciful heavens – what a stunning piece of information! c

    • I thought so…I will be boring people at parties with this.

  11. Haha there’s also another fruit that they remind me of. It’s an Asian fruit that has spikes on the outside but is more oval in shape! 🙂

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