Thursday, May 12, 2016


Borders, or the Lack of Them

Secretary of State John Kerry, commencement address at Northeastern University (May 6, 2016):
You're about to graduate into a complex and borderless world.
In ancient Athens, it was the job of 18-year-old males (cadets or ephebes, ἔφηβοι), before they became full citizens, to patrol and protect the borders, according to Aristotle, Constitution of the Athenians 42.4-5 (my translation):
They patrol the countryside and reside in the guard-posts. They serve on guard duty for two years.

περιπολοῦσι τὴν χώραν καὶ διατρίβουσιν ἐν τοῖς φυλακτηρίοις. φρουροῦσι δὲ τὰ δύο ἔτη.
In general see Josiah Ober, Fortress Attica: Defense of the Athenian Land Frontier 404-322 B.C. (Leiden: E.J. Brill, 1985).

Related post: The Athenian Ephebic Oath.

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