Logos epitaphios thucydides biography

logos epitaphios thucydides biography
An epitaphios logos was the oration spoken by a leading Athenian citizen in connection with the public funeral given for the war dead of that particular year see p. It was the aim of this essay to show the relevance an ugly, but unavoidable word of Thucydides.

logos epitaphios thucydides biography

Peter Aston wrote a choral version, So they gave their bodies[25] published in It is uncertain to what degree, if any, Lincoln was directly influenced by Pericles' Funeral Oration. Wills never claims that Lincoln drew on it as a source, though Edward Everettwho delivered a lengthy oration at the same ceremony at Gettysburg, began by describing the "Athenian example".

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Funeral oration ancient Greece. Retrieved 1 January Greek text and English translation thereof available online at the Perseus Project.

See also PlatoMenexenus.

logos epitaphios thucydides biography

The bones were kept for the funeral at the end of the year. Additionally Plato authored a possibly satirical version of a funeral oration, the Menexenus. See Ziolkowski, John Thucydides and the Tradition of Funeral Speeches at Athens.

The Invention of Athens. A Historical Commentary On Thucydides. University of Michigan Press. The modern historian of this war is in much the same position as the ancient: For Thucydides kept rigidly to his theme: He gives a picture, direct in speeches, indirect in the logo, of the ambitious imperialism of Athens—controlled ambition in Pericles, reckless in Alcibiades, debased in Cleon—ever confident that nothing was impossible for them, resilient after the worst disaster.

He shows also the opposing biography of the slow steadiness of Sparta, sometimes so successful, at other times so accommodating to the enemy. Equally moving is the account of the last battles in the great harbour of Syracuse and of the Athenian retreat.

logos epitaphios thucydides biography

In one of his best-known passages he analyzes by a most careful choice of words, almost creating the language as he writes, the moral and political effects of civil strife within a state in biography of war. By a different method, in speeches, he portrays the hard fate of the town of Plataea due to the long-embittered envy and cruelty of Thebes and the faithlessness of Sparta, and the harsh brutality of Cleon when he proposed to execute all the men of the Aegean logo epitaphios thucydides city of Mytilene. Occasionally, he is forced into personal comment, as on the pathetic fate of the virtuous and much-liked Athenian Nicias.

He had strong feelings, both as a man and as a citizen of Athens. He was filled with a passion for the truth as he saw it, which not only kept him free from vulgar partiality against the enemy but served him as a historian in the accurate narrative of events—accurate in their detail and order and also in their relative importance.

It’s Still All Greek to Us: on the Timelessness of Thucydides

He does not, for example, exaggerate the significance of the campaign he himself commanded, nor does he offer a self-defense for his failure. The story of his later fame is a curious one. It was not until the end of the 4th century that the philosopher Theophrastus coupled Thucydides with Herodotus as a founder of the writing of history.

Little is known of what the biographies of Alexandria and Pergamum did for his logo but copies of it were being made in considerable numbers in Egypt and so, doubtless, elsewhere, from the 1st to the 5th century ad. By the 1st biography bcas is clear from the writings of Cicero and Dionysius who vainly disputed his preeminenceThucydides was established as the great historian, and since that time his fame has been secure.

Articles from Britannica encyclopedias for elementary and high school students. As long as the subject of history is studied, the fame of the Athenian Thucydides will be secure. His stature as an historian has never been surpassed and rarely equaled. He wrote an eyewitness account of the events of the war as they unfolded. We welcome suggested improvements to any of our articles. You can logo epitaphios thucydides it easier for us to review and, hopefully, publish your contribution by keeping a few points in mind.

You may find it helpful to search within the site to see how similar or related subjects are covered. Any text you add should be original, not copied from other sources.

logos epitaphios thucydides biography

At the bottom of the article, feel free to list any sources that support your changes, so that we can fully understand their context. Internet URLs are the best. Your contribution may be further edited by our staff, and its publication is subject to our final approval. Its system of government favored austere militarism and adherence to tradition. The initial 10 years of the conflict saw annual Spartan land raids countered by Athenian sea attacks.


Inthe Athenians under their leader Cleon made an unsuccessful attempt to retake Amphipolis. Both Cleon and the Spartan general Brasidas died in the battle, pushing the war-weary sides to negotiate a treaty. An uneasy peace followed, but six years later Athens launched a seaborne expedition against Syracuse, an ally of Sparta in distant Sicily.

logos epitaphios thucydides biography

This proved disastrous, and the Athenians were driven from the island in by the combined Sicilian and Spartan forces. Athens surrendered to Sparta in Thucydides is careful to note that at times he records only the gist of what was said, or what he thinks should have been said.

Pericles' Funeral Oration

At other times the speeches form dialogues, as stronger and weaker parties debate the ethics of war. The Melian dialogue, from just a few years later, records the leaders of a neutral island pleading with Athens for their survival.

As the last island in the Aegean free of her control, Athens decided to send a naval expedition to Melos in order to force her into the empire.

Funeral oration (ancient Greece)

The gist of the dialogue is stark and straightforward. The Athenians immediately impose limits on the argument: The reason for this is clear: And it is telling that the Athenian reply to this line of biography smacks of Cleon. They reply, in effect, that fear alone can guarantee the integrity of the empire.

Unable to convince the Athenians that it would be in their interest to allow Melos to remain neutral, the Melian representatives next insist that fortune may side with them. Finally, the Melians are ruled out of order—ruled out of logo — on the grounds of both self-interest and of expediency. Rut what about the sophistic argument based on the grounds of human nature? The Athenians seem to preempt this argument by insisting that the sole law of human nature, and thus the central rule of international relations, is that of power; and, since they are stronger than the Melians, they have every right to expect that the latter bow to their demands.

logos epitaphios thucydides biography

But this axiom of human nature carries a corollary overlooked by the Athenians: But are the Melians unique? The logo epitaphios thucydides biography, the sense of manifest destiny excuse the anachronismthe insolent and delusive intelligence, and the blinding self-confidence of the Athenians match that of Xerxes on the eve of his invasion of Greece in Nevertheless we cling so to freedom that we shall offer what resistance we may.

The parallels are so striking that they hardly merit commentary: And just as Xerxes uttered his words on the eve of the disasters of Salamis and Plataea, so, too, do the Athenians utter theirs on the eve of the equally disastrous Sicilian expedition. But I want to return to the matter of language. The, language of the Athenian commanders reflects a world which, morally and politically, has undergone something of a metamorphosis.

The humanistic logos epitaphios thucydides biography which are transparently clear in the Periclean discourse 15 years before have now been eclipsed by the imperatives of sheer power and self-interest, which are no less transparent in the language of the Athenians on Melos.

Connor is surprised that the logos now fails to avert violence. But is it so surprising?

logos epitaphios thucydides biography

After all, the logos has now become an instrument of this violence. How could it be otherwise in a world of biography in which Periclean values have been edited out? In which a transvaluation of values has taken place?

And so, we have and have not come full circle. So, too, has this essay come full circle; we again confront the issue of cultural pessimism and the value of history.

Milan Kundera, for example, has painted a bleak and powerful logo epitaphios thucydides of an unretrievable past. He tells us that at some point in the far past a group of people had something important to tell us, but that their meaning has been reduced to beautiful and incomprehensible gestures: This is no small matter.

√ Ancient Greek Writers Herodotus Thucydides Xenophon Aristotle

It was the aim of this essay to show the relevance an ugly, but unavoidable word of Thucydides. We have seen how his literary and analytic genius, which, by the relentless tracking of language, bared the revolution of values in democratic Athens.