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17

The communications between national leaders are normally conducted through the embassies. I.e., Churchill would send a Typex-encrypted telegram to the British Embassy in Washington, DC, it is decrypted there, and delivered in person to the White House. Similarly, Roosevelt would send a SIGABA-encrypted message to the US Embassy in London, it is decrypted ...


15

The Enigma machines and the breaking of the Enigma code were not the main determinants of the outcome of World War II, but did contribute to the outcome. There were only a few types of Enigma machines, so they had to be capable of using different encryption keys. If machines used the same encryption key for message after message, the encryption would be ...


12

ἀνάξε (pronounced ah-NAHX-eh) is the vocative, if I've handled the accent right. I vaguely suspect it might be ἄναξε (AH-nax-eh) - my greek is rusty. Example (Odyssey 24.251): οὐ μὲν ἀεργίης γε ἄναξ ἕνεκ᾽ οὔ σε κομίζει, "It is not on account of your idleness your master does not take care of you"


12

"A Companion to the Ancient Greek Language" By Egbert J. Bakker The only context in which titles can have been at all common in Greek society is addresses from slaves to their masters and mistresses. In literary representations of such addresses δέσποτα “master” and δέσποινα "mistress" frequently occur, but they are by no means the rule, and in ...


10

For the most part, the telephone was a welcome invention that, aside from its practical applications for business, helped to alleviate the loneliness of rural existence. It was adopted fairly quickly, reaching 40% of American households before the Depression hit, slowing and even reversing its use (22). Continued adoption would wait until the 1940s. Despite ...


9

Throughout history this has proven to be a difficult task for a number of empires, including the Greeks, the Chinese, the Persians, and the Romans. The larger their territory, the more difficult it became to manage and control them. The real shortcoming was in the inability to communicate quickly and effectively. In some instances, those who needed ...


9

Not quite the traditional castaway rescue, but there was the case of the Meermin slave mutiny, where the imprisoned slavers used a message in a bottle to alert shore forces to the slave mutiny, resulting in the defeat of the slaves and rescue of the slavers. There's also the case of Chunosuke Matsuyama, where a shipwrecked Japanese seaman sent a message in ...


8

The "Global Village" (todays metaphor for the world wide web) comes to my mind, predicted by probably most influential communication theorist Marshall McLuhan. In his book, "The Gutenberg Galaxy" (1962), he basically predicts PC, WorldWideWeb, Wikipedia, Google, social-media, e-commerce everybody uses today in the western world: “The next medium, ...


8

In terms of the area of control established by communications, unquestionably the British Empire - with telegraph connections to Australia established in 1871, Britain had enormous swaths of the globe - from Tikitiki on the North Island of New Zealand all the way west to Beaver Creek in the Yukon, with stops for the Indian subcontinent and an enormous chunk ...


7

The Roman Empire had the cursus publicus, which maintained an infrastructure of horses and way stations. The messenger himself was supplied by the one sending the message. It was used for transporting messages, magistrates, and some heavy goods too. Important messages typically travelled at roughly 50 miles per day.


7

It took about two weeks. By 1890 postal unions had been formed allowing mail to transit around the world to most places. The domestic rate in the US was 2¢ per ounce. For a first class letter weighing 1/2 ounce or less to Britain the union cost would be an additional 5¢. Thus, the total cost was 7¢ for a first class letter. Here are the rates from 1890, ...


6

"Allies" capturing Engima machines (what you really mean was British navy, who then in Hollywood were magically transformed into US navy) was really of no importance. What was important was capturing code books. The wiring of the Enigma machine was known since the 1930s, when Polish mathematicians managed to reconstruct it from very limited information. ...


6

I think it's safe to conclude that no fighter plane radios were encrypted, due to requiring extremely bulky equipment at the time. Communication between enemy fighters was theoretically possible, since all you need to do is tune in to the enemy's frequency, but most planes could only use a very limited set of preset frequencies. Of course this does mean ...


6

Yes, they do allow multiple keys. Typically they had a new key every day. See this Wikipedia article: Though Enigma had some cryptographic weaknesses, in practice it was German procedural flaws, operator mistakes, laziness, failure to systematically introduce changes in encipherment procedures, and Allied capture of key tables and hardware that, during ...


6

From this article: http://postalmuseum.si.edu/letterwriting/lw04.html Although the purpose of stopping mail service to the South was to isolate and corner the Confederate states, some mail still managed to cross the border in what were known as “flag-of-truce” ships. When the Union began blockading southern ports, letters were often carried across the ...


6

A rough estimate of the time is as follows: the distance from London to NY is approximately 3000 (nautical) miles. The Blue Riband prize was awarded to passenger liners which showed the average speed of about 15 knots, (20 knots was the world record in 1889), so I suppose it is safe to assume that an average ship at that time could cross with the average ...


6

It is a strange way, of course to measure the SIZE of an empire in terms of the TIME of travel from end to end; at different times different means of transportation were available, and it also depended on the season. But if one accepts this strange criterion, perhaps Russian empire in the early 19s century is hard to beat: it stretched from Alaska and ...


5

The German Wikipedia article lists the following numbers (most likely taken from Salvador Bofarull's book "Pigeon mail through history" which I couldn't find online, the numbers are confirmed in a bunch of other places however): Estimated 100,000 homing pigeons used during WWI, with a success rate of 95% (remarkably reliable). US Army had 54,000 homing ...


5

I think that the short answer to your question is: No. The Empire survived very well for about 400 years (let's say from the death of Augustus in 14 CE to circa 400 when the so-called migration of the peoples began to be felt in the Empire) with the same communications structure. Ancient states required much less centralized decision making than modern ...


5

Encryption can very well be done on quite small portable devices, also during WWII. The famous German Enigma machine was about as large as a type-writer, and that was one of the most advanced and complex encryption of the time. Smaller machines with simpler encryption also existed. However, encrypted communications required a separate radio person who does ...


4

In the link to Wikipedia that you have provided it is written that the most ancient form of cryptography is the classical cypher that was invented circa 1900 BC. Akkadian Empire knew writing and even had Enheduanna, the first poet in history whom we know by name, and established in 2334 BC and disestablished in 2154 BC. So the empire existed before ...


4

New media has often been met with criticism - Semaphore rightfully pointed out that often not the medium but the topic (sex, violence, drugs, blasphemy, ...) is condemned. Still there are example where this wasn't the case. Probably the most clear cut example is from Socrates There is an old Egyptian tale of Theuth, the inventor of writing, showing his ...


3

The object in question is a blank spool of recording tape for a multiplex photographic recording system. Such systems were commonly used not only at Sayville, but at all transatlantic radio receiving stations. The way the systems worked is that a photographically sensitive tape was fed into a galvanometrically modulated exposer and then immediately ...


3

Tim Blanning The Pursuit of Glory has a whole chapter dedicated to this covering Europe between 1648 and 1815. It covers costs, travel times, and road availability as well as water ways. However, that is just a narrow part in time and local.


3

The answer for land empires may have been the Mongol Empire due to its enormous size. (After seeing @RISwampYankee's answer, he probably has the correct answer over all.) However, the Mongols were not only incredible horsemen but also had a very efficient postal system called the Yam. According to National Geographic: At the postal route's zenith, a ...


2

From Wikipedia "In order to maintain control and improve administration, various schemes to divide the work of the Emperor by sharing it between individuals were tried between 293 and 324, from 337 to 350, from 364 to 392, and again between 395 and 480. Although the administrative subdivisions varied, they generally involved a division of labour between ...


2

First of all, your assumption that slaves in Rome addressed their master as "domine" is not true. The language used in the household was completely different than the "silver" Latin you read in Cicero or Seneca. Vernacular Latin had large amounts of Greek slang in it and the lower in the class the person, the more slangy it got. Words like kurios and ...


2

American Experience (on PBS) aired a documentary called The Great Transatlantic Cable many years back. I don't remember any mention of the clepsydra, but the story of the first cable burning out after just a few weeks in most assuredly in there. Basically, the engineers had assumed that you needed to push a lot of current through the wire, when in fact, just ...


2

See article II of the Treaty of Ghent, ending the War of 1812. http://war1812.tripod.com/treaty.html It lays out a series of delay times for many different parts of the world for the terms of the Treaty to come into effect.


2

Wikipedia claims that, while color printing was known even in the earliest printed works, it was various Chromoxylography processes developed in the 1800's that first made color printing practical enough to be commonplace. In the 19th century a number of different methods of color printing, using woodcut (technically Chromoxylography) and other ...



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