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[76] There is an oath which you take, sworn by all citizens when, as ephebi,1 they are enrolled on the register of the deme, not to disgrace your sacred arms, not to desert your post in the ranks, but to defend your country and to hand it on better than you found it. If Leocrates has sworn this oath he has clearly perjured himself and, quite apart from wronging you, has behaved impiously towards the god. But if he has not sworn it, it becomes immediately plain that he has been playing tricks in the hope of evading his duty; and for this you would be justified in punishing him, on your own and Heaven's behalf.

1 The Ephebate, an organization for training the young men of Athens, chiefly in military matters, had existed since the fifth century but was reorganized by Lycurgus (v. Life of Lycurgus). The oath was taken in the temple of Aglaurus, daughter of Cecrops (cf. Hdt. 8.53; Dem. 19.303), probably at the age of eighteen when the youth underwent an examination (δοκιμασία) and had his name entered on the deme register. He was then an ephebus until the age of twenty.Cf. Aristot. Const. Ath. 42.

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  • Cross-references in notes from this page (3):
    • Aristotle, Constitution of the Athenians, 42
    • Demosthenes, On the False Embassy, 303
    • Herodotus, Histories, 8.53
  • Cross-references in general dictionaries to this page (2):
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