Note: See also the files: cryptography-msg, poisons-art, poisons-msg, med-law-art

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p-espionage-msg - 2/1/02
Information on period espionage.
NOTE: See also the files: cryptography-msg, poisons-art, poisons-msg, med-law-art.

This file is a collection of various messages having a common theme that I have collected from my reading of the various computer networks. Some messages date back to 1989, some may be as recent as yesterday.

This file is part of a collection of files called Stefan's Florilegium. These files are available on the Internet at:
I have done a limited amount of editing. Messages having to do with separate topics were sometimes split into different files and sometimes extraneous information was removed. For instance, the message IDs were removed to save space and remove clutter.
The comments made in these messages are not necessarily my viewpoints. I make no claims as to the accuracy of the information given by the individual authors.
Please respect the time and efforts of those who have written these messages. The copyright status of these messages is unclear at this time. If information is published from these messages, please give credit to the originator(s).
Thank you,

Mark S. Harris AKA: THLord Stefan li Rous

Stefan at


Date: Thu, 11 Dec 1997 00:24:19 -0800

From: Brett and Karen Williams

To: sca-arts at

Subject: Re: Espionage

Sean Winchell wrote:

> I am currently searching for information on period espionage. I am unable to

> locate any outside of what I already have. Does anybody out there have any I

> dea where i can get my hands on period material, without having to write the

> CIA.
Sir Francis Walsingham had an extensive espionage network he funded out

of his own pocket-- nigh to bankruptcy-- to serve Elizabeth I. He was

the ringleader of the scheme that set up the fall of Mary, Queen of

How many languages do you read? ;)

There is a relatively recent book out on the murder/possible

politically-motivated espionage assassination of Christopher Marlowe in

the 1590's. While this is very late period, the bibliography of this

book would be a very valuable resource to hunt for information on this

The Reckoning : The Murder of Christopher Marlowe

by Charles Nicholl

Paperback, 413 pages

Published by Univ of Chicago Pr (Trd)

Publication date: August 1995

ISBN: 0226580245

I have read this one, and it was fascinating.
You might also want to try:
A Dead Man in Deptford

by Anthony Burgess

Paperback, 288 pages

Published by Carroll & Graf

ISBN: 0786703210
which either seems to be considered either fascinating or deadly dull,

no middle ground, or:

Entered from the Sun : The Murder of Marlowe

by George P. Garrett

Reprint Edition

Paperback, 349 pages

Published by Harcourt Brace

ISBN: 0156287951

The Slicing Edge of Death

by Judith Cook

Published by St Martins Pr (Trade)

Publication date: October 1993

ISBN: 0312100116
Incidentally, the latter three are historical fiction, the first is

biography with quite a bit of plausible speculation. I have only read

the first so I cannot comment on the possibility of a bibliography or

critical thought on the latter three.


Date: Thu, 11 Dec 1997 05:53:33 -0600 (CST)

From: "J. Patrick Hughes"

To: sca-arts at

Subject: Re: Espionage
You might look into Elizabeathan spying practice as she was notorious for

her network of spies and informants. Slightly out of period is Father

Joseph who was the spy master for Richilue (sp). By the end of period most

of the great powers and many of the minor ones were using spies.

Charles O'Connor

From: clevin at (Craig Levin)


Subject: Re: Medieval Spies

Date: 16 Sep 1999 15:53:51 GMT

Organization: Ripco Internet, Chicago

Camber wrote:

>Can any of you out there direct me to any sources on medieval spies and

>espionage during period.
Have you tried Mattingly's _Renaissance_ _Diplomacy_?
By and large, espionage wouldn't have worked as well as it does

in today's world of centralized governments and swift

communications, methinks. In a world in which it was possible for

the greater vassals of a king to conduct their affairs as if they

were independent powers (and I don't just mean in the Holy Roman

Empire-consider, during the Hundred Years War, the behavior of

the dukes of Burgundy and Brittany) and in which military forces

of a considerable size could be beholden to nobody but the

Almighty Florin (for example, the condottieri in northern Italy

or the ecorcheurs in France), espionage has got to be really

spread out and spread thin, operating on a theater level (as a

hypothetical example, a commander answerable to the king of

England might have a few people in the camp of his counterpart

answerable to the king of France on his payroll).

On the other hand, certain people would have done pretty well in

that sort of situation. I believe somebody has mentioned peddlers

as possible spies. Also, heralds, in many of their official

capacities, would have picked up plenty of useful information,

which they could then relay to their patrons.
Dom Pedro de Alcazar

Barony of Storvik, Atlantia

Drakkar Pursuivant

Argent a tower purpure between 3 bunches of grapes proper

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