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Cloak-and-dagger work was as much a part of the ancient world as the modern. While gadgets may change, the principles do not: espionage in antiquity was just as dangerous, its stakes just as high. Without Sinon, a double agent for the Greeks, Troy would never have fallen. Frank Russell studies spies in the ancient Greek world and presents fascinating information on the nature of the Great Game, its players, its pawns, and their methods.
Information Gathering in Classical Greece opens with chapters on tactical, strategic, and covert agents. Methods of communication are explored, from fire-signals to dead-letter drops. Frank Russell categorizes and defines the collectors and sources of information according to their era, methods, and spheres of operation, and he also provides evidence from ancient authors on interrogation and the handling and weighing of information. Counterintelligence is also explored, together with disinformation through "leaks" and agents. The author concludes this fascinating study with observations on the role that intelligence-gathering has in the kind of democratic society for which Greece has always been famous.
This valuable and absorbing volume is accessible to any student of intelligence or ancient history. All passages have been translated, and context is provided for historical figures who might not be widely known. Notes are extensive and offer further avenues of study for the technical or specialist reader.
Frank S. Russell has taught at Dartmouth College.
Copyright © 2000, University of Michigan. All rights reserved. Posted June 2000.
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