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.