History of diplomacy

From our blog

Diplomats as vassals: The Tang dynasty (618–907 CE)

Aldo Matteucci

The Chinese Tang dynasty (618–907 CE) was an era of economic and cultural development (some would say \'China\'s best moment\') during which \'the world\' paid homage and tribute to the Middle ...

The border-making process in Africa

Aldo Matteucci

When I first mentioned to a diplomatic friend my intention of writing a blog entry on \'dip...

[Podcast] Diplomacy between tradition and innovation

Stefano Baldi

Diplomacy · Diplomacy between tradition and innovation [An interview with Ambassador Stefano Baldi]   In January 2021, Diplo began a series of online discussions titled History of Diplomacy and Technology, led b...

[New podcast] The telegraph and diplomacy: An interview with Tom Standage


In January 2021, Diplo began a series of online discussions titled History of Diplomacy and Technology led by Dr Jovan Kurbalija. As part of the series, Kurbalija interviewed journalist and author Tom Standage to ta...

Training and courses

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Multilateral Diplomacy

Starting 19 Feb 24

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Bilateral Diplomacy

Starting 22 Jul 24




Searching for the prehistoric origins of diplomacy

What if diplomacy had started in the first contact between two distinct bands of nomadic Homo sapiens hunter-gatherers in the Palaeolithic period, even before the advent of agriculture and the transition from nomadism to Neolithic sedentary societies? In this post, pre... Read more...

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The ‘Working’ Non-Aligned Movement: Between Belgrade, Cairo, and Baku – The NAM’s Leadership Visibility

The objective of this chapter is to highlight lessons learned, promote best practices, and carry takeaways that are useful for other levels of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM), or even other forums. ... Read more...

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The Diplomacy of Ancient Greece – A Short Introduction

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.... Read more...

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Diplomacy and Secret Service

Intelligence officers working under diplomatic protection are rarely out of the news for long, and the last two years have been no exception. How did the relationship between diplomacy and secret intelligence come about? What was the impact on it of the bureaucratizati... Read more...

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Room for Diplomacy: The history of Britain’s diplomatic buildings overseas, 1800-2000

Mark Bertram joined the Ministry of Public Buildings and Works after reading architecture at Cambridge and remained in the civil service as architect, project manager, administrator, estate manager and – in his own words – ‘quasi diplomat’ for the next thirty y... Read more...

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The Summer Capitals of Europe, 1814-1919

This is an original work, meticulously researched, rich in detail, and written in a clear and – here and there – refreshingly pungent style. Soroka is a Russian scholar but at ease in English.... Read more...

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Curing the Sick Man: Sir Henry Bulwer and the Ottoman Empire, 1858-1865

This is the first book of a very promising young historian. Laurence Guymer, who is head of the Department of History at Winchester College and a research associate in the School of History at the University of East Anglia, has produced a biography of Sir Henry Bulwer ... Read more...

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A Diplomatic Whistleblower in the Victorian Era

It’s not often that a fascinating and important new book — in this case about an accomplished diplomat, journalist, whistle-blower, novelist, dissembler and controversial celebrity of Victorian times — is made available, totally free of charge, to anyone with a c... Read more...

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Telephone diplomacy: Dialling the ‘red line’

The telephone, radio, and telegraph constitute the three most important inventions that have shaped communication up until today. The telegraph delinked communication from physical transportation and travelling, the telephone transferred voice over distances, and the r... Read more...

The telegraph: How it changed diplomacy

The period between the end of Renaissance diplomacy (early 16th century) and the start of the golden age of diplomacy and technology (early 18th century) was shaped by the Reformation and religious wars. Central Europe came out divided, while around it, new, more centr... Read more...

Renaissance diplomacy: Compromise as a solution to conflict

The Renaissance (French: ‘rebirth’) was a period in European civilisation immediately following the Middle Ages. From the late 13th to the early 17th century, it brought a renewed interest in Classical learning, first to Italy, and later to all western... Read more...

Byzantine diplomacy: The elixir of longevity

The term ‘Byzantine’ comes from the name of the ancient Greek city Byzantium which the Roman Emperor Constantine I (Constantine the Great) rebuilt and renamed Constantinople (present-day Istanbul), and in 330, moved the capital of the Roman Empire from Rome to Cons... Read more...

Ancient Diplomacy: What can it teach us?

In the third session of our monthly Zoom series Diplomacy and Technology: A historical journey, a masterclass with Jovan Kurbalija, we focused on ancient diplomacy. We started with the emergence of writing, one of the most important communication technologies in the hi... Read more...

Prehistory: Origins of diplomacy and early ‘technologies’

When did diplomacy begin? To find how diplomacy began, we need to go back to prehistoric times and look at the developments which nurtured proto-diplomacy. Behavioral sciences show that cooperation and peaceful conflict resolution are crucial for the survival and prosp... Read more...