Book cover for 'Information Gathering in Classical Greece'
Google Preview

Information Gathering in Classical Greece

Frank S. Russell


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.

Praise / Awards

  • ". . . a hugely informative book . . . Russell has found much that is valuable, especially in his early chapter on day-to-day military concerns: signaling, treatment of captives and deserters, the use of guides, and generals' creation of networks of information. . . . Part of the purpose of such a study is to reveal familiar events in a new light, and Russell's book will offer a new perspectives [sic] both to military historians and those studying the processes of information flow in antiquity."
    ---Sian Lewis, University of Wales Cardiff, Bryn Mawr Classical Review, July 18, 2000
  • "Provides a good discussion of the subject of intelligence operations in ancient Greece."
    ---I. G. Spence, The International History Review, December 2001

Look Inside

Copyright © 2000, University of Michigan. All rights reserved. Posted June 2000.

To view PDF files, you must have Adobe Acrobat Reader installed on your computer. To find out more, please visit

Product Details

  • 6 x 9.
  • 280pp.
  • 2 drawings, 2 tables.
Available for sale worldwide

  • Hardcover
  • 2000
  • Available
  • 978-0-472-11064-3

Add to Cart
  • $94.95 U.S.