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Reflections on Life, Death, and the Constitution$
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George Anastaplo

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780813125336

Published to Kentucky Scholarship Online: September 2011

DOI: 10.5810/kentucky/9780813125336.001.0001

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. Life and Not-Life in Thucydides’ Funeral Oration

. Life and Not-Life in Thucydides’ Funeral Oration

Chapter:
(p.12) 2. Life and Not-Life in Thucydides’ Funeral Oration
Source:
Reflections on Life, Death, and the Constitution
Author(s):

George Anastaplo

Publisher:
University Press of Kentucky
DOI:10.5810/kentucky/9780813125336.003.0002

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

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