On secrecy and its relation to the exercise of power:
Deioces then built these fortifications for himself, and round his own palace; and he commanded the rest of the people to fix their habitations round the fortification; and when all the buildings were completed, he, for the first time, established the following regulations: that no man should be admitted to the king’s presence, but every one should consult him by means of messengers, and that none should be permitted to see him; and, moreover, that it should be accounted indecency for any to laugh or spit before him. He established such ceremony about his own person, for this reason, that those who were his equals, and who were brought up with him, and of no meaner family, nor inferior to him in manly qualities, might not, when they saw him, grieve and conspire against him; but that he might appear to be of a different nature to them who did not see him. When he had established these regulations, and settled himself in the tyranny, he was very severe in the distribution of justice. And the parties contending were obliged to send him their case in writing; and he, having come to a decision on the cases so laid before him, sent them back again. This, then, was his plan in reference to matters of litigation; and all other things were regulated by him; so that, if he received information that any man had injured another, he would presently send for him, and punish him in proportion to his offense; and for this purpose he had spies and eaves-droppers in every part of his dominions.
— Herodotus (fifth century B.C.), from “Herodotus: A New and Literal Version”, trans. Henry Cary, 1855