The Athenian Oath

“We will never bring disgrace on this our City by an act of dishonesty or cowardice.

We will fight for the ideals and Sacred Things of the City both alone and with many.

We will revere and obey the City’s laws, and will do our best to incite a like reverence and respect in those above us who are prone to annul them or set them at naught.

We will strive unceasingly to quicken the public’s sense of civic duty.

Thus, in all these ways, we will transmit this City not only, not less, but greater and more beautiful than it was transmitted to us.”


The Athenian Oath was taken by the young men of Athens when they reached 17.

2 thoughts on “The Athenian Oath

  1. I think Philadelphia should honor the heritage of its name and revive the oath. We’ll have colonies on Mars before even a minority of Philadelphians could grasp any such notion, but one can dream.

  2. I’m not sure this was the Athenian Oath. It looks to me like a modern invention adapted from the Ephebic Oath which was a military one, and which pledged young Athenian soldiers to make Athens not smaller but ‘greater’ than previously. It’s a fine oath but implicitly aggressive towards other communities. If you have a good authority that I’m wrong I’d love to see it, because I love the oath myself and have just brought myself up short thinking that I may have been peddling a viral concoction. If you can help me out my email is ngruen at gmail

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