In ancient Athens, when young men reached the age of 18, they presented themselves to the Ecclesia. There, during a ceremony, they received their weapons and pledged the vow of Athenian adolescents taking their place among the defenders of Athenian democracy. Here follows said vow:

“I shall not disgrace the sacred arms, nor shall I abandon my brother-in-arms, with whomever I might stand in line. I shall defend the holy and the sacred, alone and with many others, and I shall not deliver the homeland smaller, but bigger and stronger than I have received it. And I shall obey willingly those who judge each time and I shall participate in political life in accordance with the established institutions and in accordance with those that the people will have elected with joint decision. And if someone shall try to abolish the institutions or to not obey them, I shall not allow it and I shall defend them alone and with many others. And I shall honor the ancestral sanctities. My witnesses in all this shall be Aglafros, Enyalius, Ares, Zeus, Thallo, Auxo, Hegemone.”

This is dedicated to all servicemen and women who keep the spirit of this vow alive to this day.

 

(Featured Image Courtesy: Steven Pinker)

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