Introduction

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Introduction


Telecommunication (as is historically clear) determines not only the outcome of war but also the fate of whole civilisations.

For instance, the spread of the Greek city-states to all the Mediterranean and the renowned expedition of Alexander the Great would not have been completed had it not been for the exceptional network of communication.

The use of simple torch signals (a method of transmitting messages with firelight) and the creation of a beacon network (relay stations for message transmission) from earliest times, as far back as the Trojan War, (12th century B.C.) contribute to an incredibly practical method for transmitting a determined message from the boundaries to the centre of the Mycenaean world.

The need for quick transmission of multiple and various messages led the Greeks to the astonishing conception of the "hydraulic telegraph" (4th century B.C.), a hydraulic device which required the use of only one torch fire for the transmission of predetermined messages.

The need for accurate message transmission led to the ingenious invention of the coded firesignals (the transmission of a message letter by letter, 3rd century B.C.). The combined torch signal system resulted in the unavoidable increase in the number of beacons due to their weakness in distinguishing the multiple and various torch lights from great distances.

The invention and the use of such advanced systems, precursors of modern technology (and unique worldwide in their kind until the 16th century A.D.) defines the Greeks as prodigious pioneers in the field of telecommunication.