Intelligence in the Ancient World

Rose Mary Sheldon

A - O

Sheldon, Rose Mary. Ambush: Surprise Attack in Ancient Greek Warfare. London: Frontline, 2012.

Although in his opinion "Alexander the Great and his successors are considerably shortchanged," Roisman, IJI&C 26.4 (Winter 2013-2014), still finds this work to be "a valuable contribution to the scholarship on Greek warfare.... [A] major merit of Ambush is its awarding surprise abd ambushes a central role in Greek warfar, alongside, and not below, hoplite pitched battles." Sheldon's "copious, learned notes ... occupy about a quarter of the book."

Sheldon, Rose Mary. "The Ancient Imperative: Clandestine Operations and Covert Action." International Journal of Intelligence and Counterintelligence 10, no. 3 (Fall 1997): 299-315.

The ancient Romans "were experts at political manipulation, spying, and dirty tricks." In fact, "covert actions and clandestine operations [were] used as an indispensable part of Roman foreign policy."

Sheldon, Rose Mary. "Byzantine Counterintelligence and the Bulgarians." Intelligence Quarterly 1, no. 4 (Feb. 1986).

Sheldon, Rose Mary. "Caesar, Intelligence, and Ancient Britain." International Journal of Intelligence and Counterintelligence 15, no. 1 (Spring 2002): 77-100.

In two campaigns in Britain, in 55 and 54 B.C., "Caesar and his men were put in great danger as a consequence of poor intelligence gathering." Essentially, Caesar "overreached himself and walked blindly into an untenable position."

Sheldon, Rose Mary. Espionage in the Ancient World: An Annotated Bibliography of Books and Articles in Western Languages. Jefferson, NC: McFarland, 2002.

Peake, Studies 47.3, notes that the author "presents 839 entries -- a “Rosetta Stone” for scholars -- citing books and articles mainly in Western European languages plus Latin and Greek....  The annotations give a short summary of the content and in many cases references for further study.  For those interested in the ancient history of intelligence this is an essential reference work." To Smith, IJI&C 17.4 (Winter 2004-2005), Sheldon's "comments to entries are a mini-education in themselves." This is a "notable and sound introduction to the literature of intelligence in the ancient world."

For Kruh, Cryptologia 27.2, this "first comprehensive guide to the literature of ancient intelligence ... is a worthwhile book to have in your personal library." Young, AFIO WIN 2-03, 14 Jan. 2003, finds that Sheldon "has produced a fascinating and comprehensive guide to the literature of ancient intelligence." However, "[t]his work is more than a bibliography; it provides the most comprehensive documentation and commentary on the literature of intelligence in antiquity. It is an indispensable reference work -- and great for casual browsing as well." Kahn, Intelligencer 17.1 (Winter-Spring 2009), agrees, referring to the work as "indispensable for anyone dealing with early intelligence." [Historical/Bibliographies]

Sheldon, Rose Mary. The Friedman Collection: An Analytical Guide. At: http://marshallfoundation.org/library/documents/FreidmanCollectionGuide.pdf.

Published on the George C. Marshall Foundation's Website, Dr. Sheldon details the materials held in the William F. Friedman Collection at the Foundation.

Sheldon, Rose Mary. "Hannibal's Spies." Espionage 2, no. 3 (Aug. 1986): 149-152.

Sheldon, Rose Mary. "Hannibal's Spies." International Journal of Intelligence and Counterintelligence 1, no. 3 (1986): 53-70.

Sheldon, Rose Mary. "The Ill-Fated Trojan Spy." Studies in Intelligence 31, no. 1 (1987): 35-39. Reprinted in American Intelligence Journal 9, no. 3 (Fall 1988): 18-22.

Here, we have the contrast of successful and unsuccessful spies in the Iliad. The failure of the Trojan spy Dolon whose mission was so ill-fated as to cross the paths of Diomedes and Odysseus, off from the Greek side on their own intelligence-gathering venture, is told in the tenth book of Homer's classic work.

Sheldon, Rose Mary. Intelligence Activities in Ancient Rome: Trust in the Gods, but Verify. London: Frank Cass, 2005. London: Routledge, 2007. [pb]

Peake, Studies 49.4 (2005), says that the author "has assembled extensive documentation" to show that intelligence "in some form" was practiced throughout Roman history. There are detailed chapters covering "the evolution of Roman military and domestic intelligence." This work "is a comprehensive account that demonstrates the Romans faced many of the same problems -- bureaucratic and technological -- that confront today's professionals."

For Lewin, I&NS 22.4 (Aug. 2007), this book "has much to recommend it to both the ancient historian and the historian of intelligence services. It approaches specific events in Roman history from an original angle," and "provides fascinating and intimate insights into an elusive aspect of Roman society." The reviewer's "main criticism" is the work's "occasional slippage into modern jargon and models."

Sheldon, Rose Mary. "Jesus, the Security Risk: Intelligence and Security in First Century Palestine." Small Wars and Insurgencies 9, no. 2 (Autumn 1998): 1-37. [Israel/Historical]


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