For most of humanity’s existence, communication has been incredibly slow. For millennia the only way of transmitting information between two humans was via speech or crude drawings. About 5,000 years ago written language and papyrus increased the transmission distance and bandwidth of human-human communication, but the latency, delivered by hand, was still pretty bad.
Somewhere around 300BC, though—at least according to recorded history—things started to get interesting. Ancient Greece, as described by the historian Polybius, used a technology called hydraulic telegraph to communicate between Sicily and Carthage—a distance of about 300 miles—in the First Punic War.
Read more at Ars Technica