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8 Crazy and Fascinating Facts About Historical Spies and Espionage

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Espionage is sometimes known as the world's second oldest profession (after prostitution, of course). An account of spies hiding on a prostitute's roof can be found in the Book of Joshua, and Sun Tzu's The Art of War, from 500 BCE, explored advanced methods of espionage at a time when there were only 100,000,000 people to spy on worldwide (for reference, about the population of Ethiopia in 2016). Famous and notable spies from history aren't limited to black-suited secret agents sprung from paranoia in the Cold War.

There were, in fact, sophisticated spies sneaking letters across enemy lines in the Roman Empire and cryptographic pioneers employing invisible ink during the Revolutionary War. The historical spies on this list run a wide gamut, from Ancient Chinese spies to English spies, American spies, and even spies in the Bible. Read on for fascinating espionage facts from throughout history.

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