Thucydides funeral oration

Pericles’ Funeral Oration Analysis: Athenian Democracy

He speaks of how open and free they are, how accepting of foreigners they can be, and how in spite of their easygoing, pleasure centered lifestyle, they maintain the strongest military in Greece.

When a man is gone, all are wont to praise him, and should your merit be ever so transcendent, you will still find it difficult not merely to overtake, but even to approach their renown. Any citizen or stranger who pleases, joins in the procession: The initial 10 years of the conflict saw annual Spartan land raids countered by Athenian sea attacks.

We alone do good to our neighbors not upon a calculation of interest, but in the confidence of freedom Thucydides funeral oration in a frank and fearless spirit. Our public men have, besides politics, their private affairs to attend to, and our ordinary citizens, though occupied with the pursuits of industry, are still fair judges of public matters; for, unlike any other nation, regarding him who takes no part in these duties not as unambitious but as useless, we Athenians are able to judge at all events if we cannot originate, and, instead of looking on discussion as a stumbling-block in the way of action, we think it an indispensable preliminary to any wise action at all.

Thucydides funeral oration if they were worthy of praise, still more were our fathers, who added to their inheritance, and after many a struggle transmitted to us their sons this great empire.

Key Questions [1] Such was the end of these men; they were worthy of Athens, and the living need not desire to have a more heroic spirit, although they may pray for a less fatal issue. Then, again, our military training is in many respects superior to that of our adversaries.

Rather, the admiration of the present and succeeding ages will be ours, since we Thucydides funeral oration not left our power without witness, but have shown it by mighty proofs; and far from needing a Homer for our panegyrist, or other of his craft whose verses might charm for the moment only for the impression which they gave to melt at the touch of fact, we have forced every sea and land to be the highway of our daring, and everywhere, whether for evil or for good, have left imperishable monuments behind us.

This is what a memorial speech is meant to be: Pericles chooses to end his speech on an unexpected note, however. There are several different English translations of the speech available. Epilogue, which constitutes a consolation and an encouragement for the families of the war dead.

There, far from exercising a jealous surveillance over each other, we do not feel called upon to be angry with our neighbour for doing what he likes, or even to indulge in those injurious looks which cannot fail to be offensive, although they inflict no positive penalty.

II.43: Context and Meaning

Though usually a mournful or lamenting speech, Pericles broke the mold and attempted to use the speech to win the good graces of the people by promoting his personal values and those of Athenian society, tucked in between his memorial of the soldiers and degradation of his enemies.

Yet you who are still of an age to beget children must bear up in the hope of having others in their stead; not only will they help you to forget those whom you have lost, but will be to the state at once a reinforcement and a security; for never can a fair or just policy be expected of the citizen who does not, like his fellows, bring to the decision the interests and apprehensions of a father.

Pericles describes Athenian democracy as a system of government where men advance on merit rather than on class or wealth. Since we do not anticipate the pain, although, when the hour comes, we can be as brave as those who never allow themselves to rest; thus our city is equally admirable in peace and in war.

The freedom we enjoy in our government extends also to our ordinary life.

Pericles' Funeral Oration

And we shall assuredly not be without witnesses; there are mighty monuments of our power which will make us the wonder of this and of succeeding ages; we shall not need the praises of Homer or of any other panegyrist whose poetry may please for the moment, although his representation of the facts will not bear the light of day.

While those of you who have passed your prime must congratulate yourselves with the thought that the best part of your life was fortunate, and that the brief span that remains will be cheered by the fame of the departed.

Thucydides is careful to note that at times he records only the gist of what was said, or what he thinks should have been said. Inthe Athenians under their leader Cleon made an unsuccessful attempt to retake Amphipolis. The Funeral Oration was recognised as a rhetorical masterpiece, and so from the sixteenth century onwards it was often included in collections of ancient speeches that were used to teach students the principles of rhetoric.

As always, Thucydides does not offer us clear lessons or instructions, but demands that we consider complicated questions. When the proper time arrived, he advanced from the sepulchre to an elevated platform in order to be heard by as many of the crowd as possible, and spoke as follows: Though strong themes and meanings concerning the building of Ethos, Pathos, and Logos which will be the main focus of this critique can likely be attributed to Pericles, instances of eloquence and enchanting wordplay likely fall to Thucydides.

That panegyric is now in a great measure complete; for the Athens that I have celebrated is only what the heroism of these and their like have made her, men whose fame, unlike that of most Hellenes, will be found to be only commensurate with their deserts. Pericles notes that there are practical advantages from fighting "what is to be gained by beating the enemy back"but he wants to stress more idealistic motives: At such a time of high emotions and patriotism — Pericles has not one theme but several.

Funeral oration (ancient Greece)

In Thebes, when the seven pyres of corpses had been consumed, the son of Talaus spoke in this way: Significantly he begins recounting the speech by saying:The funeral oration of Pericles, as reported by Thucydides, is the earliest epitaphios presented in full.

The burial of the war dead in the first year of the Peloponnesian War is regarded as reflecting the fifth-century dominance of the public co-memorial.


Inshortly after the Peloponnesian War had broken out, Pericles delivered his famous Funeral Oration to commemorate those troops who had already fallen in battle. Aug 21,  · Historians suggest that Pericles' funeral oration, as recounted in the "History of the Peloponnesian War," was a model.

Hillsdale College. Pericles' funeral oration is a speech written by Thucydides for his history of the Peloponnesian War. Pericles delivers the oration not only to bury the dead, but to praise democracy.

What Is a Brief Summary of Pericles' Funeral Oration?

The people of Athens, including those from the countryside whose land was being pillaged by their enemies, were kept. Apr 30,  · Analysis of Pericles: Funeral Oration Though the exact words of Pericles' famous and influential Funeral Oration during the Autumn of B.C are unknown, it's purpose, meaning, and eloquence was captured by his good friend Thucydides.

Thucydides funeral oration
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