Ancient History & Civilisation

Intelligence Activities in Ancient Rome: Trust in the Gods but Verify

Intelligence Activities in Ancient Rome: Trust in the Gods but Verify

Professor Sheldon uses the modern concept of the intelligence cycle to trace intelligence activities in Rome whether they were done by private citizens, the government, or the military.

Examining a broad range of activities the book looks at the many types of espionage tradecraft that have left their traces in the ancient sources:

  • intelligence and counterintelligence gathering.
  • covert action.
  • clandestine operations.
  • the use of codes and ciphers.

Dispelling the myth that such activities are a modern invention, Professor Sheldon explores how these ancient spy stories have modern echoes as well. What is the role of an intelligence service in a free republic? When do the security needs of the state outweigh the rights of the citizen? If we cannot trust our own security services, how safe can we be? Although protected by the Praetorian Guard, seventy-five percent of Roman emperors died by assassination or under attack by pretenders to his throne. Who was guarding the guardians?

For students of Rome, and modern social studies too - this will provide a fascinating read.



Part I: The Republic

Introduction: Intelligence ancient and modern

Chapter 1. Trust in the gods, but verify

Chapter 2. Rome conquers Italy Methods and motives

Chapter 3. Hannibal’s spies

Chapter 4. Diplomat, trader, messenger, client, spy Rome’s eyes and ears in the East

Chapter 5. The high price of failure Crassus and the Parthians

Chapter 6. Caesar goes to Britain

Chapter 7. Julius Caesar and the end of the Roman Republic

Part II: The Empire

Chapter 8. The Augustan revolution Communications and internal security

Chapter 9. Roman military intelligence

Chapter 10. Intelligence systems failure The slaughter of Varus in the Teutoburgerwald

Chapter 11. Transmission and signaling

Chapter 12. The Roman secret service

Chapter 13. Big brother is watching you

Chapter 14. Epilogue

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