Monday, April 29, 2024

Tactical and strategic communications in ancient Greece, Fifth Century BC

Peithis, Sotirios Christos
his dissertation will examine how effective the transmission of orders was in Ancient Greece in the fifth century BC. We will focus both on short-range tactical means of communication, such as vocal orders, and on wider-ranging strategic methods such as fire-signals. This largely neglected topic falls within the wider purview of ancient military intelligence, which has received some attention over the last decades. Following recent re-examinations of Greek Warfare, we will argue against the prevalent idea that fifth century Greek armies neglected communications. In this we will be following, and furthering, the works of scholars such as Everett Wheeler and Frank Russel, among others. While neither Wheeler nor Russell focus exclusively on the transmission of orders, their respective theories on generalship and intelligence gathering are invaluable to any examination of our own topic. Our main goals concerning tactical communications will be threefold. We will firstly determine whether vocal orders were audible on an ancient battlefield; secondly, we will examine whether Hellenic generals were in a position to issue commands; and thirdly, we will analyse how far Greek armies could be counted upon to follow instructions. As for strategic communications, we will aim to prove that the Greeks were capable of delivering more than rudimentary pre-arranged messages via their fire-signals. We will also examine how crucial strategic communications could be in the planning of a military campaign. This dissertation will thus contribute to the ongoing movement of re-consideration that has gripped ancient Greek military history over the last decades, and hopefully temper seemingly outdated notions concerning Hellenic communications
Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Qualification: Ph.D
Title: Tactical and strategic communications in ancient Greece, Fifth Century BC
Event: UCL (University College London)
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language: English
Additional information: Copyright © The Author 2021. Original content in this thesis is licensed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International (CC BY-NC 4.0) Licence ( Any third-party copyright material present remains the property of its respective owner(s) and is licensed under its existing terms. Access may initially be restricted at the author’s request.



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