Diseased Rams: The First Biological Weapon?
The historical documents hint that the Hittites – whose empire stretched from modern-day Turkey to northern Syria – sent diseased rams to their enemies to weaken them with tularemia, a devastating bacterial infection that remains a potential bioterror threat even today, says the review.
The Arzawans took the sheep to their villages and used them for livestock breeding. Soon after, though, they began to suspect a link between the appearance of the animals and the terrible disease ravaging their communities ... "They started wondering 'Why do these rams start showing up on the road?'" says Trevisanato. He believes that among the Hittites, "somebody must have had the bright idea" to send diseased rams over to their Arzawan enemies.