Sunday, November 15, 2009

Pericles funeral oration and a public burial

Pericles funeral oration in 431/430 bc over Athens dead soldiers is not only one of the best speeches every given but also a very unique one. Instead of honoring the dead soldiers by praising their deeds and courage Pericles do so by talking bout the greatness of Athens. Here's one of the more famous parts.

An Athenian grave relief over a soldier - possibly part of a state monument. Ca 330 Bc.

"Our constitution does not copy the laws of neighbouring states; we are
rather a pattern to others than imitators ourselves. Its administration
favours the many instead of the few; this is why it is called a
democracy. If we look to the laws, they afford equal justice to all in
their private differences; if no social standing, advancement in public
life falls to reputation for capacity, class considerations not being
allowed to interfere with merit; nor again does poverty bar the way, if
a man is able to serve the state, he is not hindered by the obscurity of
his condition."

Thucydides History of the Peloponnesian War II.6
Translated by Richard Crawley

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