πῦρ διέρπειν must here refer to a definite ordeal, by walking through a fire. The idea, at least, of such an ordeal appears in the familiar Attic phrase “διὰ πυρὸς ἰέναι” (‘to go through fire and water’); Plat. Symp. 4. 16“ἔγωγ᾽ οὖν μετὰ Κλεινίου κἂν διὰ πυρὸς ἰοίην”, Aristoph. Lys. 133 “διὰ τοῦ πυρὸς ι ἐθέλω βαδίζειν”. But it is doubtful whether the actual use of any such ordeal in the historical age can be inferred from Dem. or. 54 § 40 “ἀξιοπιστότερος τοῦ κατὰ τῶν παίδων” (by the lives of one's children, cp. or. 29 § 26) “ὀμνύοντος καὶ διὰ τοῦ πυρός”, i. e. swearing that one is ready to undergo the test by fire. It has been suggested that “ἰόντος” has fallen out after “πυρός”, which seems improbable. But the phrase may be rhetorical. Cp. Verg. Aen. 11. 787 “(the Hirpi): medium freti pietate per ignem Cultores multa premimus vestigia pruna.”—Becker Char. 183 notices some other ordeals. There was a temple in Achaia, the priestess of which, before election, was proved by drinking ball's blood; if impure, she died (Paus. 7.25.13). Perjury, and some other crimes, were assayed by the accused mounting the steps of an altar for burnt sacrifice (“ἐσχάρα”): if he was guilty, flames appeared ( Aeth. 10. 8). Incontinence was tried by the test of entering a grotto of Pan at Ephesus (Achilles Tatius 8. 6). θεοὺς ὁρκ., to swear by the gods; the acc. is cognate (the god being identified with the oath), like “ὅρκον ὀμνύναι”: Xen. Cyr. 5.4.31 “ταῦτα...ὄμνυμί σοι θεούς.” τὸ μήτε δρ.: for the art., cp. 236. μήτ᾽ είργασμένῳ: the conjecture μηδ' is needless, since “μήτε” can be understood before “βουλεύσαντι”: see O. T. 239 n.
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