Pericles' Funeral Oration

Essay by shaterikaCollege, Undergraduate May 2014

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Pericles' Funeral Oration

Pericles' Funeral Oration

Shaterika Brown

Excelsior College

Pericles' Funeral Oration

During the Peloponnesian War, the Athenian people would basically give a big funeral to all of the fallen soldiers throughout the year. Pericles gave this speech to the people of Athens who were in mourning over the many deaths. Although most eulogies are meant to be sorrowful with sympathy for those who have lost a loved one, this particular speech was used to uplift the people, and to prove that their loved ones did not die in vain. His speech supported patriotism and commended the fallen for their great sacrifice. The purpose was to gain the trust of the people and to give them faith in their military efforts while praising the greatness of a democracy.

The beginning of the speech thanks their ancestors for their ability to fight for all that they have in that present time.

He tells the way that the Athenians achieved their land and resources, "…that part of our history which tells of the military achievements which gave us our several possessions…" (Pericles, c.460/455-c.399 B.C.E.). Pericles honors the form of government founded by their ancestors as a true inspiration to all. "Our constitution does not copy the laws of neighboring states; we are rather a pattern to others than imitators ourselves…" (Pericles, c.460/455-c.399 B.C.E.). He was very creative speaking of the many freedoms that the Athenians are entailed due to their government, which considers all, minus a select few i.e. women, slaves, and foreigners, equal.

Pericles then goes on to admire the skill and power of the Athenian navy and army. Even though Athens allows foreigners to learn and observe their military tactics and everyday lives, they "…are...