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At this point the only power source available are Galvanic cells, & the only other use found for them is light bulbs. Aside from the basic electricity everything is at the same level of technology as ~50BC Europe. These devices are expensive but still exist in decent quantity to countries that have them. They work on Morse code. These are standard electrical telegraphs, with range similar to those from the 1840s They are available to only about 2/5s of the world.

In situations of major importance would they make a difference when compared to a society without them in the same exact situation?

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  • $\begingroup$ You might think that your question is specific enough, but it isn't specific in right way. Now, let me explain what specification you need - specifics of your telegraph. Unless you have industrial society where much more is known about all kinds of physics and engineering(which you don't want), your telegraphs will be very simplified version of ours. On what principles does it really work(simply lightbulbs in distance maybe)? What is a range of telegraph (this one is important, as shorter the range, harder logistic are - more manned repeater stations needed). $\endgroup$ Sep 4 '21 at 9:58
  • $\begingroup$ If the two fifths of the world where this invention is available are Australia, Patagonia and (modern) Canada then not much will change in history. If this invention was made in the valley of the Yellow River in the eighth century BCE the effect would be vastly different than it would be if the invention was made in Alexandria of Egypt in the third century BCE. The world is wide and (ancient) history is long. You really must think before asking a question. $\endgroup$
    – AlexP
    Sep 4 '21 at 10:09
  • $\begingroup$ @AlexP this is for a completely fictional world that i haven't even got a idea of the geography & history of yet. And its more about the immediate consequences than what effects it will have on the future. $\endgroup$
    – OT-64 SKOT
    Sep 4 '21 at 10:11
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    $\begingroup$ In a completely fictional and completely unspecified world the phrase "ancient society and warfare" is also completely unspecified. Do you reckon that ancient society and warfare in Australia were the same as ancient society and warfare in the Levant or in Mycenaean Greece or in Rome? Was the Peloponnesian War (which killed dead the power of Athens) similar to the struggles between the Warring States of China? And yet they happened in about the same time frame. Were they of equal importance in history? $\endgroup$
    – AlexP
    Sep 4 '21 at 10:14
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    $\begingroup$ Good basis for a question. I'd suggest you narrow your focus to either "military" or "society" and then pick some likely subset. Like "merchants" or "slaves". SE likes narrowly focused questions! $\endgroup$
    – elemtilas
    Sep 4 '21 at 14:17
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For one take on an alternate history that includes early wireless telegraphy, look up the short story titled "Sail On! Sail on!".

In this alternative history, the Santa Maria has wireless telegraphy and communicates back to Spain. But the earth is flat.

Wikipedia Article

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Society: Since there is no double-entry bookkeeping and little banking (as we would recognize it), there are unlikely to be large companies to own and operate telegraphs. Therefore the telegraphs, their manufacturing and all other capital-intensive organization seem likely to be owned and operated by the State/King (or a closely-related aristocrat), since only a tiny cadre will have enough wealth to build and maintain it.

The Crown's ownership of telegraphy, in turn, suggests fairly easy censorship and control over (rapid) information movement. The Crown can try use this to extend their dynasty and their wealth, with other aristocrats pushing back against the too-powerful King.

And then, as part of this political back-and-forth over a couple generations, some durned fool will teach the farmers and slaves to read, an incendiary will write a Manifesto arguing that the King Is A Fink and we don't really need him/her anyhow, and then the regimes begin to topple.

Warfare: With the ability to coordinate across distance reliably, look for bigger and more decisive battles, better intelligence, and a somewhat more responsive logistical tail. The actual size of each main body might be only slightly larger (or unchanged), but more units will show up on the battlefield on time.

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