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After the purifying sacrifice has been carried round1 and the herald has offered the traditional prayers, the presiding officers are commanded to declare to be next in order the discussion of matters pertaining to the national religion, the reception of heralds and ambassadors, and the discussion of secular matters.2 The herald then asks, “Who of those above fifty years of age wishes to address the assembly?” When all these have spoken, he then invites any other Athenian to speak who wishes (provided such privileges belongs to him).3

1 “It was custom at Athens to purify the ecclesia, the theatres, and the gatherings of the people in general by the sacrifice of very small pigs, which they named καθάρσια.”—Harpocration

2 The above interpretation is confirmed by Aristot. Const. Ath. 43.1.29 f., where we find the same phraseology, evidently that of the law itself. Heralds, whose person was inviolate even in time of war, were often sent to carry messages from one state to another. They frequently prepared the way for negotiations to be conducted by ambassadors, appointed for the special occasion.

3 That is, any citizen who is not disqualified by some loss of civic privilege inflicted as a penalty. Aeschines has in mind the fact that a man like Timarchus would not have the privilege.

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