Ancient Greek Communication Methods

Michael Lahanas

Αρχαία Ελληνική επικοινωνία

Communication by fire (invented among many other things according to a legend by Palamedes) described in the Iliad.

Iliad Even in this night that now brings forth the dawn.
LEADER Yet who so swift could speed the message here?
CLYTEMNESTRA From Ida's top ,

Aeneas of Stymphalus (known also as Aeneas Tacticus (Αινείας ο Τακτικός)), c. 350 BC, Greek military scientist and cryptographer from Arcadia. He invented an optical system for communication similar to a telegraph: the water-clocks.

The water-clocks are an early long-distance-communication-system. Every communicating party had exactly the same jar, with a same-size-hole that was closed and the same amount of water in it. In the jar was a stick with different messages written on. When one party wanted to tell something to the other it made a fire-sign. When the other answered, both of them opened the hole at the same time. And with the help of another fire-sign closed it again at the same time, too. In the end the water covered the stick until the point of the wanted message.

Heracles reading e-mails

Dr. Howard Johnson, The Torches and the Hair


Reports in Greek

Ancient Greece

Medieval Greece / Byzantine Empire

Modern Greece