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INTELLIGENCE SERVICES DURING ANCIENT GREEK, ROMAN AND BYZANTINE TIMES
The collection and utilization of intelligence does not constitute a privilege of modern times. According to testimonies by various sources, the appearance of intelligence dates back to the first historic years, while during ancient times it constituted a key element of the “politeia” state apparatus, with a view to safeguard and protect the interests of each city-state. The most characteristic example, is that of the Spartan “krypteia”, of the Spartan state and the main manifestation of the fear of Spartans against those considered as non-Spartans, namely the eilotes (i.e., slaves) and the perioikoi (i.e., inhabitants of the neighboring city-states). A significant role in intelligence collection was also played by the so-called “Consuls”,the diplomats in contemporary terms, representatives of each city-state, who created their own information networks in order to provide information to the authorities of the city-state which they represented.
During the Roman and Byzantine times, the institution of “secret friends”, was developed with the main responsibility to inform the Emperor about the activities and intentions of the barbarian groups or tribes as well as about the foes of the Empire. A particularly good example is that of the activity of the ‘Secret Friends’ during the reign of Constantinos V Kopronimos (741-775) during the on-going struggle to counter the Bulgarian threat.
 For more on “Krypteia”, see Paul Carledge, Spartans, An Epic History, Athens 2004, p. 33.  On the role of “Consuls”, see Andreas Gerolymatos, Espionage in Greece, Athens XX, p. 15-167.  On “Secret Friends”, see I. Karayannopoulos, History of the Byzantine State II, Thessaloniki 1981, p. 145.