Funerals after such battles were public rituals and Pericles used the occasion to make a classic statement of the value of democracy. Unlike Spartans, Athenians enjoy and appreciate luxury and relaxation, as well as contact with the outside world. The analysis of Pericles funeral oration reveals several admirable aspects of justice and citing them as unique and virtuous in the system of governance provided by democracy. Thanks for creating a SparkNotes account! Pericles, a great supporter of democracy, was a Greek leader and statesman during the Peloponnesian War. Marina is brought to the ship, and she tells Pericles that her own sufferings must match his. Pericles, The Funeral Oration of Pericles. Delivered in 430 B.C.E., near the end of Pericles' life and following the first year of the Peloponnesian War the speech was mandated by the laws of the democracy. The Athenians also make friends by giving favors, not by requesting favors from others. In saying that Athens does not even need Homer to sing its praises, Pericles makes a bold statement about the value and fame of his city-state. Though his is the rustiest armor, Pericles wins the tournament, and dines with Simonides and his daughter Thaisa, both of whom are very impressed with him. Janet Lloyd), Pericles of Athens (Princeton University Press, 2014) Madeleine M. Henry, Prisoner of History: Aspasia of Miletus and Her Biographical Tradition . Gill, N.S. TO CANCEL YOUR SUBSCRIPTION AND AVOID BEING CHARGED, YOU MUST CANCEL BEFORE THE END OF THE FREE TRIAL PERIOD. A panegyrist is one who writes a panegyric, a formal public speech that elaborately praises someone or something. Please wait while we process your payment. to start your free trial of SparkNotes Plus. Pericles Gives the Funeral Speech (Perikles hlt die Leichenrede), by painter Philipp von Foltz (1852) . $24.99 It has been described as "a eulogy of Athens itself." The speech is a glorification of Athens' achievements, designed to stir the spirits of a state still at war. Upon first reading, the funeral oration is a stirring and strikingly resonant description of Western democracy's core values. The Funeral Oration is significant because it differs from the usual form of Athenian funeral speeches. He helped to shape and develop the democracy enjoyed in Athens and to grow the Athenian empire. "If we look to the laws, they afford equal justice to all in their private differencesif a man is able to serve the state, he is not hindered by the obscurity of his condition. He gave a speech in Athens, a public speech, honoring the many warriors who were killed in battle after the first year of the Peloponnesian War. [2] The speech was supposed to have been delivered by Pericles, an eminent Athenian politician, at the end of the first year of the Peloponnesian War (431404BCE) as a part of the annual public funeral for the war dead. The English term spartan has come to describe a lifestyle characterized by self-denial, self-discipline, and avoidance of luxury. While a funeral oration would normally focus primarily upon the deceased, Pericles acts as a fervent advocate of democracy by examining not only the sacrifices of his fellow Athenians, but the particular qualities that have facilitated Athenian greatness. In order to make the mourners at the . Course Hero. In the Funeral Oration, he discusses subjects such as the superiority of the Athenian compared to other civilisations. For example, Athenians hold athletic games and freely practice their religion. the topic in Pericles' Funeral Oration express an entire philosophy of government. Pericles' Funeral Oration stands as the grand exemplar of epideictic oratory, specifically the form of epideictic known to the Greeks as epitaphios logos, and to us as a eulogy. 1.22.1. For Pericles this speech occurred in 431 BCE at the end of the first year of the Peloponnesian War. He hopes that love of Athens will motivate Athenians to perform acts of courage in future battles and struggles. It is like the "garland" with which Athens honors success among both the living and the dead. "For the love of honor alone is ever young, and not riches, as some say, but honor is the delight of men when they are old and useless." - Pericles, 'Pericles' Funeral Oration'. . on 2-49 accounts, Save 30% Pericles's funeral oration was given to honor the soldiers lost in war by commemorating the military accomplishments of the Athens government and to distinguish the roles of men and women in Athens society. by . Pericles's Funeral Oration 3.0 (2 reviews) Term 1 / 74 No finer expression of the ideas of democracy exists than the famous Funeral Oration delivered by who in honor of the Athenians who fell fighting Sparta during the first year (431 B.C.) Leading up to this oration, the people of Athens, including those from the countryside whose land was being pillaged by their enemies, were kept in crowded conditions within the walls of Athens. To help make his point he stated that the soldiers whom he was speaking of gave their lives to a cause to protect the city of Athens, and its freedom. Pericles begins by acknowledging that most speakers praise the decision, made by a past generation, to add an oration, or speech, to Athens's funeral customs. But Pericles is sure Antiochus will want him dead for knowing the truth, so he flees back to Tyre. Pericles says that Athenians are unique in extending these favors in a spirit of confidence derived from their generosity. It is this legacy that Pericles is seeking to create. Pericles argues that the speaker of the oration has the impossible task of satisfying the associates of the dead, who would wish that their deeds be magnified, while everyone else might feel jealous and suspect exaggeration. The Parthenon, a great temple built under Perikles' supervision in the fifth century B.C., represented the virtues the politician celebrated in his "Funeral Oration." Since it was dedicated to the goddess Athena, the temple symbolized Athenian wealth, power, greatness, and elevated culture. In Tyre, Pericles worries that Antiochus will take some form of revenge, whether a military attack or an underhanded assassination attempt. Introduction. It is important to note that citizens had to be male and over 18 years old. Pericles celebrates the free, comfortable, enjoyable lives led by Athenian citizens. They chose to face death rather than run away and let their enemies triumph. They argue that Socrates' praise functioned as a mode of education for its audience, which was encouraged to live up to the admirable ideals embodied in the fallen soldiers . The garland of victory refers to the wreath, usually of laurel or olive branches, that was awarded to the winner of games or to prizewinning poets. Your subscription will continue automatically once the free trial period is over. In the climax of his praise of Athens, Pericles declares: "In short, I say that as a city we are the school of Hellas; while I doubt if the world can produce a man, who, where he has only himself to depend upon, is equal to so many emergencies, and graced by so happy a versatility as the Athenian. The authorship of the Funeral Oration is also not certain. [12] Pericles argues that the speaker of the oration has the impossible task of satisfying the associates of the dead, who would wish that their deeds be magnified, while everyone else might feel jealous and suspect exaggeration.[13]. He goes on to commend the actions of the war dead and says that the way they died shows their worth. Did you know you can highlight text to take a note? Being born poor or of low status does not prevent a talented man from getting ahead. He asks her about her birth, and she says her name is Marina. Filled with melancholy, he takes the advice of Helicanus, his councilor, to travel for a while until Antiochus is no longer after him. Members will be prompted to log in or create an account to redeem their group membership. Pericles' Funeral Oration - Peloponnesian War Primary Source Analysis Worksheet. Youve successfully purchased a group discount. Athens used its strong navy to establish an empire, gaining influence and power over many smaller Greek city-states. [b] Another confusing factor is that Pericles is known to have delivered another funeral oration in 440BCE during the Samian War. In Britain, special editions of the Funeral Oration were printed during World War I. Your subscription will continue automatically once the free trial period is over. For instance, long working hours in Yorkshire and Lancashire factories caused wide- spread dissatisfaction among textile workers. In a democracy, class considerations [are not] allowed to interfere with merit any man capable enough to rule is allowed to do so. Summary. In Pericles' Funeral Oration, Pericles' praises the dead, describes how great Athens is, explains why Athens must continue to support the war, and tells why Athens must live up to the fallen soldiers of the Peloponnesian war. Because of his importance to Athens, he was selected to give a speech honoring the Athenian soldiers who had died in the first battles of the war. Thucydides documented a funeral oration delivered to the people of Athens by Pericles. Download a PDF to print or study offline. "Pericles' Funeral Oration - Thucydides' Version." Thucydides' Greek is notoriously difficult, but the language of Pericles Funeral Oration is considered by many to be the most difficult and virtuosic passage in the History of the Peloponnesian War. Even today we view this ancient city as the birthplace of the values of equality and democracy that we center our government upon. For these reasons, it is easy to view the account of Pericles' Funeral Oration as glorifying its giver and celebrating the democracy he sought to perpetuate. In these ways, Pericles says, the soldiers who died were "worthy of Athens" and are a heroic example to all. Addressing those who lost loved ones in the battle, Pericles says that he is offering them comfort rather than pity. Pericles also acknowledges that the present generation has helped ensure the prosperity and strength of Athens. He is preparing Athenians for what lies ahead. He praises the double advantage of the Athenian system, which is that it prevents hardships in peacetime but produces a citizenry equally as capable of facing hardship in war as the Spartans. "[22], Pericles addresses the widows of the dead only here, telling them that "the greatest glory for a woman is not to be spoken of at all, either for good or ill."[23] This passage is often cited as characteristic of Athenian attitudes to women's role in public life,[24] but is also connected to the standard behaviour of women as mourners at private funerals.[25]. This suggestion is intended to reassure parents and help reinforce Athens. It was an established Athenian practice by the late 5th centuryBCE to hold a public funeral in honour of all those who had died in war. This was in sharp contrast to Sparta's oligarchy, a form of government in which a small group of people holds power. Course Hero, "Funeral Oration Study Guide," July 18, 2019, accessed March 3, 2023, He states that the greatness of Athens is anchored in the efforts of previous generations. All Athenians are expected to take an interest in public affairs, and they prize discussion when making decisions. Pericles describes an ideal view of Athens, rather than the much messier reality of its relationships with the city-states under its influence.
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