Though the Exact Words of Pericles’ Famous and Influential Funeral Oration During the 430 B.C Are Unknown,

Though the exact words of Pericles’ famous and influential Funeral Oration during the 430 B.C are unknown, it’s purpose, meaning, and eloquence was captured by his good friend Thucydides. Speeches such as Pericles’ were traditionally given annually to honour the many who fell during Athens’ many wars and campaigns against other countries. Though many Athenians were training in public speaking and oration, it must be emphasized that Pericles’ speech held a great degree of weight given the current war against the Peloponnesians and Pericles’ status as General (and henceforth leader during wartime) of the City-State of Athens.
The Funeral Oration was an annual event given to commemorate all of those who had died throughout the year in service of the Athenian military. Though not included with Thucydides’ translation of Pericles’ particular speech, a list of all the fallen was usually recited as a part of the speech, and the bodies of the fallen were cleaned and put on display around a massive memorial to fallen Athenians before burial. Though usually a mournful or lamenting speech, Pericles broke the mold and attempted to use the speech to win the good graces of the people by promoting his personal values and those of Athenian society, tucked in between his memorial of the soldiers and degradation of his enemies. The move worked, after Pericles lost his power he was reinstated as commander of the military for a year before death.
Pericles’ Funeral Oration can be compared to several more modern speeches, most notably Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address. Both of them heavily promote a sense of nationalism in the surviving listeners, both commend the brave sacrifices of soldiers living and dead, and both invoke a deep sense of sorrow while simultaneously setting up feelings of national pride and faith in the societies and audiences they were meant for. Though the speeches are not outlined in the same way, they have much in common and it’s very possible that…

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