April 8, 2014
"The Funeral Oration" was a eulogy originally spoken by Pericles amidst the Athenian war on Sparta in 431 B.C.E. that was later recalled, and recorded for posterity by the famous Athenian historian Thucydides. Pericles, the orator and original writer of "The Funeral Oration," was a very loyal Athenian. He was a statesman, politician, and army general. As such, Pericles was a very gifted orator. No stranger to rallying his troops, or his fellow citizens, Pericles knew how to use his words to inspire action, change minds and sway opinions. Pericles was an avid supporter, not only, of Athenian democracy, but also of the spread of Athenian democracy. During the time that this funeral oration was given, Pericles had a lot at stake. Greece was experiencing heavy amounts of turmoil at the hands of the war waging between Athens and Sparta. This war, and the deaths that were a result of it, were the driving factors behind Pericles writing and speaking his "Funeral Oration."
Pericles took to his natural inclination to speak and inspire, and used the excuse of a eulogy as an opportunity to get his message across to the good people of Athens. "The Funeral Oration of Pericles" offers many insights into the life if Athenians at the time it was written, allowing the reader to learn about the author, the audience and the political atmosphere of Athens, Greece in 431 B.C.E.
The attitude and mindsets of the aforementioned Athenians in the audience receiving Pericles' "Funeral Oration" can be determined from the manner and tone that Pericles maintains throughout the oration. Pericles would allege that the eulogy of the fallen soldiers was to be given to their friends, families and loved ones to help assuage the grief: "Wherefore I...