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Secret police
(629 words)

[German version]

A. Ancient Near East

Xenophon (Cyr. 8,2,10ff.) tells of undercover informants, the “eyes and ears of the king”, who reported to the Persian king. Antecedents of this Achaemenid institution can be found in Mesopotamia: soothsayers (Mari 18th cent. BC) and state officials (Assyria 8th/7th cents.) undertook in their oath of office to report to the king any moves or actions against him. The extent to which fear of the “eyes and ears of …

Cite this page
Renger, Johannes (Berlin) and Eder, Walter (Berlin), “Secret police”, in: Brill’s New Pauly, Antiquity volumes edited by: Hubert Cancik and , Helmuth Schneider, English Edition by: Christine F. Salazar, Classical Tradition volumes edited by: Manfred Landfester, English Edition by: Francis G. Gentry. Consulted online on 27 October 2020 <http://dx.doi.org/10.1163/1574-9347_bnp_e420550>
First published online: 2006
First print edition: 9789004122598, 20110510



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