Krypteia

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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Krypteia

 

in Sparta, ancient Greece, punitive raids conducted periodically by the government against the Helots; the raids were primarily carried out by Spartan youth. Their purpose was to annihilate the most active Helots, thereby keeping the remaining Helots in constant terror. The raids were particularly important in the military education and training of the Spartans. Detachments of young Spartans who served in the capacity of police for a period of two years were also called the krypteia.

REFERENCES

Berger, A. K. Sotsial’nye dvizheniia v drevnei Sparte. Moscow, 1936.
Leanmaire, H. “La cryptic Lacedemonienne.” Revue des etudes greques, 1913, vol. 26, no. 117, pp. 121–50.
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
The crypteia provided a kind of paramilitary training for the future leaders of the Spartan police state.(101) Its precise functions are unknown (and Plutarch's view that it existed primarily to kill helots surreptitiously may be exaggerated [Plut.
That ferocity paid dividends in the form of the crypteia, a practice in which Spartan youths were turned loose on the unfortunate helots at night, going out and killing as many as was necessary to keep their population under control.