Exploratio: Military & Political Intelligence in the Roman World from the Second Punic War to the Battle of Adrianople, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover


Military & Political Intelligence in the Roman World from the Second Punic War to the Battle of Adrianople, 1st Edition

By N. J. E. Austin, N. B. Rankov


320 pages

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Exploratio is the first ever survey of Roman military and civil intelligence. The authors examine in detail the operation and gradual development of Roman intelligence-gathering from shaky beginnings to a high level of excellence. They identify who gathered it, and for whom.

This study shows the effects of intelligence on policy formation at various levels from the purely local through to the global. The consequences of various instances of the mishandling of information are uncovered. Austin and Rankov also demonstrate that intelligence gathering was not necessarily directed from Rome, but had for practical reasons to be carried out and processed on the frontiers themselves.

Exploratio is important reading for all students and teachers of Roman history. It will also appeal to those with a general interest in military or diplomatic history.


'Austin and Rankov have done an admirable job in filling a serious gap in the study of Roman history: a comprehensive study of how Roman intelligence worked.' - Bryn Mawr Classical Review

'Through the evidence of literary and epigraphic material, the authors make this a fascinating and readable discussion of the more shadowy parts of the Roman bureaucracy.' - Book News

'Exploratio considers six centuries of Roman military and political intelligence, based on the literary and epigraphic evidence, with exemplary care and in meticulous detail.' - Greece & Rome

'In an age when the humanities and Classics so often follow models borrowed from other branches of study, it will be comforting to note that anciant historians have produced a serious work in a generally neglected field. … Austin and Rankov… in spite of the pausity of the available sources, they have succeeded in producing an interesting, professional, and comprehensive piece of work. - Journal of Hellenic Studies vol 118 98

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
HISTORY / Ancient / General