Earlier this year, we were intrigued by the discovery of the oldest intact shipwreck ever found – a Greek vessel from about 400BCE – on the bottom of the Black Sea. Ships such as this one carried trade, and with it diplomatic relations, between the city-states of the ancient Hellenic world. In a succinct and highly readable text, Diplo’s newest e-book, The Diplomacy of Ancient Greece: A Short Introduction, by G.R. Berridge, examines the methods and forms of ancient Greek diplomacy.
Employed against a warlike background, the diplomatic methods of the ancient Greeks are thought by some to have been useless but by others to have been the most advanced seen prior to modern times. This book works to its own view by looking at the conditions that produced this diplomacy, the personnel it employed, forms it took and – in a concluding essay – its fitness for its various purposes. In passing, it draws attention to the usually overlooked private side of the diplomacy of the ancient Greeks, and the greater importance of the proxenos revealed by recent research.
The book draws heavily on translations of some of the most important primary sources, notably Herodotus, Thucydides, and Xenophon, but is essentially a work of synthesis of existing scholarship. It is designed for the student of diplomacy and general reader with no prior knowledge of the subject, and gives guidance for further reading.
Review of The Diplomacy of Ancient Greece: A Short Introduction
This is a beautifully written and thoughtful piece about the Greeks. It is a remarkable précis … . The basic point you make, that Greek diplomacy was thought of as a form of political activity, is as valid today as it was then.
– Ambassador Laurence Pope, Former US Ambassador and Political Advisor to C-in-C Central Command
This book is the first in a new Diplo series titled ‘Invitations to Diplomacy’. The series will offer short and introductory works on a variety of diplomacy topics, making them as accessible as possible in terms of style, cost, and electronic format. This first publication costs 6 euros, and can be purchased and read online on the ISSUU platform.
The series also aims to provide established and new authors with the opportunity to publish introductory works on important diplomatic subjects. Authors interested in contributing to the series should contact Hannah Slavik for further details.