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HorkosThe Oath in Greek Society$
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Alan Sommerstein and Judith Fletcher

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9781904675679

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: May 2014

DOI: 10.5949/liverpool/9781904675679.001.0001

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The Oath of Demophantos and the Politics of Athenian Identity*

The Oath of Demophantos and the Politics of Athenian Identity*

(p.148) 13 The Oath of Demophantos and the Politics of Athenian Identity*

Julia L. Shear

Liverpool University Press

This chapter examines a particularly solemn civic oath in ancient Greece: the oath prescribed at Athens by the decree of Demophantos in 410. The decree, intended to ensure that the democracy was not overthrown again, included a provision cancelling the obligations of any previous oaths that had been taken ‘in opposition to the Athenian demos’. The chapter looks at the inscription and the images that Demophantos promoted in his decree and oath, and his declaration that democracy was here to stay and would be protected by the citizens of Athens. It also discusses his description of oath-taking as ‘before the Dionysia’ and considers where the Athenians followed his advice. Finally, the chapter assesses the consequences of the decision to erect Demophantos's document in the Agora for the images of the Athenians and their city.

Keywords:   ancient Greece, Athens, Demophantos, decree, democracy, oaths, oath-taking, Dionysia, Agora

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