. Life and Not-Life in Thucydides’ Funeral Oration

George Anastaplo

in Reflections on Life, Death, and the Constitution

Published by University Press of Kentucky

Published in print June 2009 | ISBN: 9780813125336
Published online September 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780813135243 | DOI:
. Life and Not-Life in Thucydides’ Funeral Oration

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This chapter examines life and not-life in Thucydides' funeral oration. It notes that it seems customary, for those who delivered funeral orations in the orator's city, to “praise the one who made this [kind of] speech a part of [the] law, saying that it is noble that a speech be delivered over those being buried after falling in war.” It further notes that the orator opened, in this way, his own funeral address, recorded in the account of the Peloponnesian War provided by Thucydides. It further notes however, that the orator immediately voiced reservations about the accepted practice, thereby calling into question the judgement of his predecessors. It observes that the emphasis in this funeral oration is upon the living as it is evident in the opening remarks which recognize the accomplishments of the audience's ancestors, but not without going on to acclaim the recent generations, and even more the present generation, as superior.

Keywords: life; not-life; Thucydides; funeral oration; orator; funeral address; Peloponnesian War

Chapter.  1972 words. 

Subjects: US Politics

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