name applied to Athenian youths between the ages of eighteen and twenty. The
as Blümner points out,
is used in two senses, physical ἥβη
puberty at the age of sixteen, and legal or civil ἥβη
two years later (Hermann-Blümner,
p. 322). The phrase ἐπὶ διετὲς ἡβῆσαι
was consequently applied to the age of
eighteen, at which the young Athenian attained his majority as regarded
private legal relations. (For the margin allowed in cases of bodily
immaturity, the nature of the examination (δοκιμασία
), and the full discussion of the words ἐπὶ διετὲς ἡβῆσαι,
) He was now entered
on the ληξιαρχικὸν γραμματεῖον
of his deme (Lycurg. c. Leocr.
§ 76); the notion of
Pollux (8.105) and Harpocration that this was not done till the completion
of the twentieth year is sufficiently accounted for by their not knowing the
true meaning of ἐπὶ διετὲς ἡβῆσαι,
is now universally rejected. He was likewise admitted, at least on
sufferance, to the Ecclesia, where in later times the ἔφηβοι
were charged with police duties [ECCLESIA
p. 700 b
]. The marriage of a youth of eighteen is mentioned
as being nothing unusual (Dem. c. Boeot. de Dot.
and in the well-known instance of Demosthenes himself, we see the orator at
that age claiming his patrimony, bringing an action against his guardians
and pleading his own cause: at this time he calls himself an ἔφηβος
i. p. 868.15).
Military training, likewise, began with the ἐφηβεία,
which may be considered as a kind of apprenticeship in
arms. The δοκιμασία
seems to have taken
place at the time of the elections (ἀρχαιρεσίαι,
], § 28 ; Dem. c. Leoch.
1092.39), i. e. in the early part of the ninth prytany [ECCLESIA
p. 702 b
]. After this the ephebi were solemnly introduced
before the people assembled in the theatre, and received publicly a shield
and a lance (Aristot. ap. Harpocrat. s. v. δοκιμασία
); while those whose fathers had fallen in the defence
of their country, and who had consequently been brought up at the public
expense, received a complete suit of armour (Aeschin. Ctes.
§ 154; Plat. Menex.
249 A). Thus equipped, they were
led to the temple of Aglauros, and there took an oath by which they pledged
themselves never to disgrace their arms or to desert their comrades; to
fight to the last in defence of their country, its altars and hearths; to
leave their country not in a worse but in a better state than they found it;
to obey the magistrates and the laws; to resist all attempts to subvert the
institutions of Attica, and finally to respect the religion of their
forefathers. This oath is alluded to, Dem. F. L.
p. 438.303 =
346; partly quoted, Lycurg. l.c.;
more fully, but
with slight variations, Stob. Flor.
Poll. 8.105. A curious touch of aggressive patriotism, omitted by these
authors, is preserved in Plut. Alc. 15
Cic. de Rep. 3.9
“that they would regard every country as Attic soil where wheat
and barley, vines and olives could grow.” Modern criticism,
however, doubts the genuineness of [p. 1.740]
this oath so
far as it rests only upon the testimony of grammarians (Cobet, Nov.
p. 223 ; Schömann, Antiq.
E. T.; Gilbert, Staatsalterth.
As commonly stated, the ephebi served as περίπολοι,
i. e. on patrol (Xen. de
, § 47; Aristoph. Birds 1177
) and garrison duty
357 M.), in Attica, during the whole
two years of their ἐφηβεία
6.760 C; Aeschin. F. L.
167; Pollux, 8.106; Photius, s. v. περίπολος
). Another view is that the first year was spent in
military exercises, and only the second in the capacity of περίπολοι
: a passage of Aristotle (ap.
Harpocrat. s. v. περίπολος
) refers the
appearance in the theatre and the presentation of arms to the second year,
after an examination in tactics (Dittenberger, de Epheb. Att.
p. 12; Gilbert, l.c.
). The two years of περιπολία,
however, are supported by a greater
weight, both of ancient authorities and modern critics (Schömann,
p. 360; Philippi, in N. Rhein. Mus.
34.613). The military
training of the ephebi was under the direction of the strategi, one of whom
seems to have been specially charged with it (Dinarch. c.
§ 15); other instructors were of course employed.
The duty of superintending their morals and manners was entrusted to a board
whom we find likewise in
the gymnasium, and who were themselves controlled and perhaps chosen by the
Areiopagus (Phot., Etym. M.,
s. v.; Bekk.
301, 7; [Plat.] Axioch.
367 A). At the
age of twenty they ceased to be ephebi, were under no special restraint, and
were liable to foreign service.
The distinguishing costume of the ephebi was the χλαμύς,
their head-dress the πέτασος
(ἐλλραφῆναι καὶ λαβεῖν τὸ
χλαμύδιον ῀ εἰς ἐφήβους γίγνεσθαι,
Antidot. ap. Ath. 6.240
b; Pollux, 10.163, 164;
(Besides Schömann, Gilbert, and Hermann-Blümner, the
following monographs may be consulted: W. Dittenberger, de
Götting. 1863; A. Dumont,
Essai sur l'Ephebie Attique,
Paris, 1876; Portelette,
L'Ephébie en Grèce,
for Dec. 1878; Grasberger,
Erziehung und Unterricht,
3.1 ff. Compare also A.
Schaefer, Dem. u. seine Zeit,
iii. pt. 2, 19 ff.)