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The famous oath by the heroes of Marathon, Plataea, Salamis, and Artemisium here follows. The grandeur of this solemn invocation of the shades of the mighty dead, to support the orator in his last and noblest assertion of the true spirit of Athenian liberty, will strike the most indifferent reader. We do not envy one who is strong enough to read this passage without emotion. Lord Brougham says: “The whole passage, which ends here, and begins εἰ γὰρ ταῦτα προεῖτο ἀκονιτί (§ 200), is deserving of close study, being one of the greatest pieces of declamation on record in any tongue.” See Longinus on the Sublime 16: ἀπόδειζιν Δημοσθένης ὑπὲρ τῶν πεπολιτευμένων εἰσφέρει:...“οὐχ ἡμάρτετε, τὸν ὑπὲρ τῆς Ἑλλήνων ἐλευθερίας ἀγῶνα ἀράμενοι: ἔχετε δὲ οἰκεῖα τούτου παραδείγματα: οὐδὲ γὰρ οἱ ἐν Μαραθῶνι ἥμαρτον οὐδ᾽ οἱ ἐν Σαλαμῖνι κ.τ.λ.

1, 2. οὐκ ἔστιν...ἡμάρτετε, it can- not be that ye erred: οὐκ ἔστιν ὅπως= οὐδαμῶς.

3. ἀράμενοι: cf. πόλεμον ἄρασθαι, v. 5.—μὰ τοὺς: most MSS. prefix οὐ, which Σ omits, μά generally implying a negation.—τοὺς...προγόνων (those of) our ancestors who bore the brunt of battle at Marathon: προκινδυνεύω is here stand forward (as πρόμαχος) to face the foe; from its idea of contending it may take a dative like μάχομαι, as in Thuc. I. 73, φαμὲν γὰρ Μαραθῶνι μόνοι προκινδυνεῦσαι τῷ βαρβάρῳ, a passage which may have suggested προκινδυνεύσαντας to Demosthenes here.

4. Μαραθῶνι: as the name of an Attic deme, this is usually a locative dative: but here all MSS. except Σ, and most quotations, prefix ἐν, which is regular with Πλαταιαῖς and Σαλαμῖνι (G. 1197).

5. ἐν Σαλαμῖνι: this battle was fought at Salamis; the other sea-fight was off (ἐπ̓) Artemisium.

7. δημοσίοις μνήμασι: the public tombs were in the outer Ceramicus, on the road leading to the Academy: see Paus. I. 29, Thuc. II. 34. Those who fell at Marathon were buried on the battlefield, as a special honour.

8. ἀγαθοὺς ἄνδρας, in apposition with the preceding accusatives: this was by no means a weak term of praise with Demosthenes: cf. l. 11. —ὁμοίως and τῆς αὐτῆς mutually strengthen each other.

10. αὐτῶν: I adopt this partitive gen. rather than αὐτούς (found in Σ, L.1), as I am not convinced that αὐτούς can have the force of especially (distinguished from others), ipsos solos (Rauchenstein). In defence of English, we may note that this renowned passage has no less than fifty sigmas in sixty-seven words.

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    • Demosthenes, On the Crown, 200
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