Josie WestGlobal 8-8January 8, 2018Athenian Democracy Writing Assignment The oath of allegiance every new citizen takes illustrates the core values of the Athenian society and culture. These values are protecting and supporting the polis and each other, being courageous, and the political system (a democracy). The unification of Athens was made possible almost completely by this democracy. Without the unification of Athens, these values would hold much less significance. The oath of allegiance reflects on how much the Athenians valued supporting and protecting each other and their shared society. When it says that a young man is “to fight for the holy temples and the common welfare” the text is saying that the men must protect Athens no matter the circumstances. Even in the face of terror and danger, the men have to stay true to Athens and risk their lives in the process. Not only do the citizens have to protect Athens, they must also protect each other. This is shown when the text says that the men are “never to forsake his comrade in ranks.” They must stay with each other until either the particular battle or their lives are over. The phalanx formation also helps show how the citizens had to rely on each other for protection. Because of this, we can infer that the Athenians valued trust. The only way to let others have your life in their hands is if you have extreme faith in them. Trust therefore plays a crucial role in the protection of Athens and its citizens. Another value illustrated in this oath of allegiance is courage. The oath states that citizens must fight “alone or with others.” It takes a great deal of bravery to go into battle even when you are with others, but to vow to fight by yourself takes even more. If this amount of bravery is placed into the oath, it must be expected by the Athenians and therefore valued. The value of courage is also displayed when it says that the citizens are required to “never forsake his comrades in rank.” Like fighting alone, it is very difficult to stand your ground and not run away when an impending and terrifying threat is headed your way. This also requires a great amount of courage. It is also quite challenging to entrust your life with others. While this displays trust, it also is a very courageous action. The oath of allegiance also shows how much the Athenians valued their democracy. The oath says that the citizens are “to obey the magistrates and the laws, and defend them against attacks.” The citizens needed to risk their lives for this political system. They also needed to take in accordance what the law enforcers were implementing. Following these rules were just as important to the Athenians as protecting and fighting for Athens. The political system was also clearly a major and important part of Athens, as the citizens were required to protect it, just like each other’s lives and the polis itself. Therefore, the Athenian democracy was irrefutably greatly valued by the people of Athens. Having a democracy helped unify the polis of Athens. By taking the oath of allegiance, all citizens had protecting the political system in common. The Athenians also all had the same set of laws and rules they were required to follow. Having the same standardized laws gave the Athenians another thing in common. Since the political system was a democracy, the citizens were able to have a voice and be heard all across Athens. Different ideas from all over the polis would be discussed and introduced all over the polis. The citizens were able to feel like they were helping people all across Athens. Having all of these shared things in common may have helped the Athenians feel like they could relate to each other – despite being so far away – which consequently lead to a sense of unity. Unifying Athens was crucial for citizens to trust and protect each other. If the polis was not unified, citizens from one area would not be able to relate to citizens from other areas of the polis and would therefore be rather wary about entrusting their life with a complete stranger. The values of Athens and the way its democracy sparked unification can easily be found in the oath of allegiance. This oath of allegiance helps demonstrate the core values of Athens and how their political system unifies the polis.