Within ancient Sparta, a group of young men scoured the countryside, killing serfs known as helots. The nature of this ancient Spartan institution – the krypteia – has long been debated by scholars. Some have seen it as a bloody culmination of the Spartan educational system, others as a form of suppression against the helot population. This essay, however, challenges the traditional notions surrounding the krypteia by finding a connection between its unconventional mode of fighting to a model of modern guerrilla warfare techniques. By examining this historic institution, the historian can gain insight into the evolution of warfare.

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