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krypteia


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Part of the Classical Spartan upbringing (see agoge), during which (probably, selected) youths traversed the countryside, concealing themselves by day. Some sources present it as a lengthy test of individual endurance without equipment or prepared rations, others as a brief exercise by a group provided with supplies and daggers for killing prominent helots; these may be sequential stages of the institution. Different modern interpretations of the krypteia—military preparation or a transitional period of ‘opposition’ to adult hoplite life—are not necessarily incompatible.

Subjects: Classical Studies.


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