| Respectfully Quoted: A Dictionary of Quotations. 1989.|
|AUTHOR:||Athenian Ephebic Oath|
|QUOTATION:||I will not disgrace my sacred arms|
Nor desert my comrade, wherever
I am stationed.
I will fight for things sacred
And things profane.
And both alone and with all to help me.
I will transmit my fatherland not diminished
But greater and better than before.
I will obey the ruling magistrates
Who rule reasonably
And I will observe the established laws
And whatever laws in the future
May be reasonably established.
If any person seek to overturn the laws,
Both alone and with all to help me,
I will oppose him.
I will honor the religion of my fathers.
I call to witness the Gods
The borders of my fatherland,
The wheat, the barley, the vines,
And the trees of the olive and the fig.
|ATTRIBUTION:||Athenian Ephebic Oath, trans. Clarence A. Forbes.Fletcher Harper Swift, The Athenian Ephebic Oath of Allegiance in American Schools and Colleges, University of California Publications in Education, vol. 11, no. 1, p. 4 (1947).|
The true and exact text of the Athenian ephebic oath is no longer in doubt. In 1932, LÉcole Française dAthènes discovered in the ancient Athenian deme (township) of Archarnae a fourth-century stele on which was engraved in dubitable letters of stone the true, ancient, authentic and official wording of the oath. (pp. 23)
Less widely known [than the Oath of Hippocrates] but of equally surpassing nobility is the ancient Athenian oath of citizenship, dating probably from very early times. Later, it was adopted as the oath to be taken by ephebi, young men of eighteen to twenty years, enrolled in the Ephebic College established in 335334 B.C. to implement a state-supported system of military training
. every legitimate son of pure Athenian parentage who had reached the age of eighteen must, in order to be admitted to citizenship, be enrolled therein and undergo its two-year course of rigorous training in military and civic duties and activities. At the end of the first year each ephebus was given a spear and a shield; after receiving these arms, the ephebi took their oath. (pp. 12)
Adaptations of the oath, with varying translations, have been used by American colleges and universities.