[language] as used to communicate between humans in writing or in speach. Also the development of the [technology] used for it. (Consider adding those tags as appropiate.)

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26
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5answers
885 views

Did the communication lag become a problem for the ever expanding Roman Empire?

There is a dispute among historians over whether the Roman Empire collapsed because of its increasing size and system-imminent flaws which were not suited for this size. The bigger the territory, the ...
16
votes
2answers
1k views

How would slaves have addressed their masters in Ancient Greece?

In Ancient Rome, slaves addressed their masters as Dominus or Domina (male or female, respectively). Would the slaves (or servants) of Ancient Greece have used a similar title, or would they have ...
14
votes
2answers
261 views

How did ancient empires account for slow propagation of information e.g. in their legal codes?

Mathematician Alain Connes cites a French legal rule that explicitly accounts for propagation of information at finite speeds substantially below the speed of light: There was a legal rule ...
13
votes
1answer
206 views

Castaways rescued by a message in a bottle?

Has there ever been a time when people were rescued by sending out a message in a bottle to drift across the sea? The "bottle" doesn't have to be an actual bottle. It could be a box, a cask, a ...
12
votes
1answer
591 views

How frequently were homing pigeons used in the World Wars?

It seems that the strategic weight of specially breeded pigeons is much higher than I thought at first, based on the number of pigeons used and the effort to stop them. (In WW2 Germans even trained ...
9
votes
5answers
2k views

Did the German Enigma machine use multiple encryption keys?

The German Enigma machines are the key for German victories during the early years of World War II. When the Allies managed to capture few Enigma machines and decode then the face of war began to ...
9
votes
1answer
195 views

How did lower classes with aspirations to high social standing greet each other in the Paris of the 1630's?

I am running a game of En Garde over on the RPG Stack Exchange. For purposes of verisimilitude, we're wondering about station-specific greetings in Paris in the 1630's. What would be an appropriate ...
7
votes
1answer
108 views

Did all writing civilizations eventually produce cryptography?

I know some of the ancient civilizations did encrypt their messages. Did it happen everywhere where writing was known? If it didn't happen somewhere, what were the reasons?
6
votes
1answer
175 views

During the American Civil War, could you send mail to someone across the border?

Before the Civil War, there was mail service between all the different states. During the war, could you still send a letter from, say New York to Georgia, or did the post office shut down services ...
5
votes
1answer
132 views

Are there any examples of people being able to predict the consequences of communication revolutions?

I often read predictions about future technologies from analysis companies like Gartner Group. These studies often strike me as awfully linear in their view on development. I would, therefore, like to ...
4
votes
1answer
195 views

Looking for a particular documentary about history of long distance communication

I once watched a wonderful documentary about the history of long distance communication but have since forgot its title, where I saw it, and how to find it again. I really only remember two pieces of ...
3
votes
2answers
145 views

Printing - When did advertisements in colour became commonplace?

I wonder when colourful advertisements became commonplace in print (such as magazines or occasionally newspapers). I can imagine that colourful printing was far more expensive - so at what point did ...
3
votes
1answer
69 views

Quantitative comparison of transportation cost per kilometer over the centuries? [closed]

I am interested to see research on the development of transportation costs over the centuries. I realize the difficulty with researching this topic so I am interested in anything, which can enlighten ...
1
vote
1answer
56 views

Which was more revolutionary for its time: Television or Radio? [closed]

In terms of broadcast technologies, which was seen as more revolutionary for its time: television or radio? How was each technology utilized in terms of its intended purpose and audience/users in its ...