HTST 489 Lecture Notes - Ancient Warfare, Political Warfare, Chanakya
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Mythology: Frequently an attempt to explain human beings, how the world works – involves trickster
figures, often. Jack the Giant Slayer – uses intelligence and deception to overwhelm them. Common
theme in myths.
History – The Origins of Intelligence
Number of different sources of historical accounts.
1. Surviving records of government discourse – negotiations, laws. Rare, usually, though there are
thousands of examples from the ancient near east. Ancient near eastern diplomatic record shows
that along with ceremonial diplomatic exchanges and trade, we can also see some references to
the relationships between a dependent state and evidence of information gathering, reference to
spies, or to idea that diplomatic documents may be intercepted. Reference to secrecy. Gathering
information is considered the norm. Done by diplomats and traders. Used to just be
geographically based information, for the most part, kind of thing a tourist could get today.
Overwhelming means of collecting information is through spies or on the field of battle. Next to
no communications intelligence.
2. Ancient legends/histories – between 1000 BCE to 700 BCE, start to find references to
1. i.e. Account of the old testament (Jewish testament) – references to alledged activities of
Moses and the Jewish people after they flee captivity – historians are dubious as to its
historical veracity. Oral accounts from events occurring between 1000 – 1200 BCE turned
into permanent oral form and written down around 800 BCE. According to the old
testament, Moses leads the Jewish people into the Sinia desert, and god declares that this is
there land. “Every tribe  must choose one person, these people are to go and examine
the land, the people, the resources, and then come back and the people of Israel can hear
these 12 independent accounts.” Going on a reconnaissance mission. When they come back,
10 of the 12 are terrified of what they've seen- giants, big stone walls. Decide to lie. 10 of
the officers say it's a rich land but too difficult to get to – other two are honest. People of
Israel listen to the 10 people politicizing the intelligence and all believe it's too difficult to
get to – God gets smitey on the 10 liars, and curses the current generation to wander the
desert til death. Next generation – Joshua reports accurately on the Holy Land. Sends spies
to scout the territory. Two enter Jericho and the city authorities are looking for them. Rahab
the harlot houses them safely. Rahab agreees to hide them if they agree to put in a good
word for her with God. Is adopted as a Jew after the city is taken. Treachery in the walls.
Easiest way to take a walled city. Demi-mythologized accounts, not verifiable in the least,
but by around 800-900 BCE, when these were being written down – intelligence, deception,
political warfare, and politicization of information was part of the story.
2. Seige of Troy, the Ilyiad and the Oddyssey. Was a genuine city called Troy, was destroyed
on a number of occasions – invaded by the “sea peoples”, significant in the politics of
ancient near eastern world of whom we know very little. May be some type of greeks. Part
of the Ilyiad are topics related to deception. Account of Oddysseus (also known as Ulysses)
out to scout toward |Trojan lines. See a scout pass them by, decide to ambush the Trojan
scount. Pretend to be Trojans, scout is captured, begs that they not torture him and offer him
his life, tells them what he knows and then they kill him anyways. Accounts of Oddysseus
framing a greek he doesn't like by having a letter sent from the Trojan king to the Greek,
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