Chapter

Thucydides' Portrait of Pericles II

Stephen V. Tracy

in Pericles

Published by University of California Press

Published in print November 2009 | ISBN: 9780520256033
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520943629 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1525/california/9780520256033.003.0005
Thucydides' Portrait of Pericles II

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The actual narrative of the Peloponnesian War starts in book 2. Thucydides gives Pericles two speeches in this book, the famed funeral oration in sections 35–46 and a final speech rallying the Athenians to stay the course in sections 60–64. He also summarizes in section 13 Pericles' exhortation to his fellow citizens as they faced the fact of actual invasion. As the Peloponnesian invading force was starting out, King Archidamus, leader of the Spartans, sent a final ambassador to Athens. The Athenians did not admit him into the city or to the assembly, for Pericles as general had passed a measure that forbade receiving a herald or embassy of the Lacedaemonians when they were on the march. The Peloponnesian army approached Attica in the spring of 431. The result was a standoff. King Archidamus did not lay siege to the city of Athens. In the winter, in perhaps November, of 431 the Athenians held a state funeral for the fallen of the first year's campaigns. Pericles was elected by his fellow citizens to deliver the eulogy.

Keywords: Pericles; Thucydides; Athens; Peloponnesian War; speeches; King Archidamus; Attica; eulogy; Spartans; funeral oration

Chapter.  5428 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Greek and Roman Archaeology

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