Ilkka Syvanne, Finnish Society for Byzantine Studies

The Eyes and Ears:  The Sasanian and Roman Spies AD 224-450


Dr. Ilkka Syvanne (Syvänne/Syvaenne) is Vice Chairman of the Finnish Society for Byzantine Studies.  He has written extensively on ancient and medieval military topics and is the author of the Age of Hippotoxotai. Art of War in Roman Military Revival and Disaster (491-636), Tampere 2004. A six volume series on late Roman military history will be published by Pen and Sword.  He has also written material for the Oxford UP, Wiley-Blackwell, and ABC-Clio.  In 2006, he won the Society of Ancient’s price and he has also a Master’s degree in Finnish History.


The article “The Eyes and Ears: The Sasanian and Roman Spies 224-450”: 1) Provides an analysis of the several parallel security organizations of the two superpowers of antiquity; 2) Discusses both internal and external security matters; 3) Analyzes separately the military and civilian intelligence; 4) Examines the role of the religious organizations, ‘heresies’ and security; 5) Discusses the ways in which the intelligence was obtained, analyzed, assessed and disseminated, and for what purpose; 6) Provides an overview of the successes and failures and of the limits of intelligence: 7) Demonstrates some similarities between modern and ancient practices.