Thucydides

Good Essays
Andy Smith
HCC-101
September 22, 2011
Writing assignment #1: Summarize and analyze Pericles’ speech, as recounted by Thucydides. In Thucydides, “The Funeral Oration of Pericles”, I will analyze and summarize the excerpts used within our primary source course packet to comment upon the core questions of being human, having purpose, the natural world and the just society that was created by the great civilization of Athens. The oration that Pericles delivers at the funeral for the fallen soldiers in the first year of the Peloponnesian war provides an excellent vision of the things that made the warriors and citizens of Athens strive to achieve honor or Arete. Pericles speaks of valor, ancestry, parenthood and many more honorable facets of the Athenian society and it’s implication within it’s society and societies beyond, “ [F]or Athens alone of her contemporaries is found when tested to be greater than her reputation…[R]ather the admiration of the present and succeeding ages will be ours”. (Thucydides Page 33) Athens is one of the first civilizations where much of the literary work and society as a whole was documented and studied with great care. Being human in Athens was a test of honor. In Pericles speech, he speaks at first upon the human tendency to exaggerate and the importance of reputation, especially in battle, “when this point is passed, envy comes in and with it incredulity.” (Thucydides Page 31) It is a daunting task to speak on behalf of fallen soldiers and Pericles does this with compassion while providing a vision of the human state in Athens. Ancestry is first addressed and how it is an honor and duty for those who have handed their free society down from one generation to the next. They must keep in the fine standing and tradition of democracy and the freedom it provides. Through the trust and delivery of law comes a society where the human condition can thrive and grow. Pericles mentions the human implication upon war and

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