Angry Doctor

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Sick, sick people 6

Question: In ancient Sparta, how did they separate the men from the boys?

Answer 1: With a crow-bar.

Answer 2: Via an institution known as the Krypteia.

Before a boy could be accepted as a full Spartan citizen, he was expected to spend two years in the Krypteia.

The Krypteia functioned as a sort of secret police which watched over the helots, the serf class of the Sparta state, and its members would go out under the cover of the night and murder any helot who were thought to be trouble-makers.

To legitimise this killing, the Spartan parliament would ritually decalre war against their own helots every year, so a Spartan who kills a helot would not be guilty of murder.

The helots thus lived under the constant threat of violence. Violence sanctioned by the state.

Because they were helots, not Spartans.

This was Spartan law.



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