Pericles’ Funeral Oration

Socrates once said that the unexamined life is not worth living. A speech given by Pericles, one of the most influential leaders in ancient Greece, exemplifies this sentiment as he talks about how to live a meaningful and fulfilling life without looking back at what has been achieved.

The “pericles’ funeral oration summary” is a speech that was given by Pericles at the funeral of his friend, Euripides. The speech starts with Pericles saying how he cannot believe that this man who had such great talent has died and then goes on to talk about what a great life Euripides led.

Military funeral 21 gun salute.

Editor’s note: Every year, the ancient Greeks staged a public burial to remember all those who had perished in battle. Pericles, a famous politician and commander, was selected to deliver the yearly funeral oration after the first year of the Peloponnesian War. These were some of the statements said by Pericles, as recounted by Thucydides in his History of the Peloponnesian War. Pericles’ Funeral Oration, “The Eternal Remembrance of the Brave”

The majority of individuals who have spoken before me have praised the legislator who added this oration to our other funeral rites. It seemed right to them that the deceased who had died on the battlefield should be honored in this way at their burial. But I would have rather that when men do heroic things, they be recognized only in action, and with such dignity as this public funeral that you are watching right now. Then many people’s reputations would not have been jeopardized by one man’s eloquence or lack thereof, and their qualities would not have been questioned based on how eloquently or poorly he talked…

The terrible era to which these brave individuals have now been reduced is the most conclusive proof of their worth—evidence that began in their lives and ended in their deaths. Because it is a matter of fairness to bestow higher accolades on those who have dedicated their life to fighting for their nation, while being inferior to others in all other virtues save courage. Their most recent service erases all previous blemishes; it extends to the general public; their private deeds were only known to a select few. Yet, despite their affection for the pleasures that the quiet prosperous life bestows, none of them was compelled to flee danger…

They decided to be properly avenged at the risk of their lives, and to abandon the rest, believing that the punishment of their foes was sweeter than any of these things, and that they could perish in no nobler cause. They surrendered themselves to hoping for an uncertain chance at happiness, but in the face of mortality, they vowed to depend only on themselves. They raced away from the word of shame, but on the battlefield their feet remained steady, and in an instant, at the height of their fortune, they went away from the scene, not of fear, but of glory.

As for you, who now survive them, it is your business to pray for a better fate—but also to believe that it is your duty to maintain the same spirit and warmth of courage against your enemies; not judging the expediency of this from a mere harangue—where any man indulging in a flow of words may tell you, what you yourselves know as well as he, how many advantages there are in fighting valiantly against your enemies—but rather, making the daily-increasing


And, if it appears great to your apprehensions, remember that it was acquired by brave and valiant men; by men who knew their duty and were conscious of shame in the moments of action; who, whenever their efforts were unsuccessful, thought it dishonor their country to be in need of anything their valor could do for it, and thus made it the most glorious present.

The sacrifice that they made collectively was repaid to them individually, for they received for themselves a praise that never fades, and the noblest of all tombs; I do not refer to the tomb in which their remains are interred, but to the tomb in which their glory lives on, and is proclaimed always and on every fitting occasion both in word and deed. For the whole planet is a tomb of renowned men; not only are they honoured by columns and inscriptions in their own nation, but there is also an unwritten tribute to them in faraway places, engraved not on stone but in men’s hearts. Make them your role models, and don’t overestimate the dangers of war, valuing bravery to be freedom and freedom to be happiness.



The “pericles’ funeral oration text” is a speech given by the Greek statesman Pericles to honor and celebrate the life of his friend, the Athenian general, Thrasybulus.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the main points of Pericles Funeral Oration?

A: Pericles Funeral Oration is a speech by the Athenian statesman and orator, Demosthenes. The speech was delivered as he eulogized his deceased friend and mentor, Pericles of Athens

What is Pericles trying to say in his speech?

A: The speaker is not telling the audience to be patient when they witness something extraordinary. He is saying that he will stay there, and watch with them until it happens.

What was the purpose of Pericles famous speech oration?

A: Pericles famed speech oration was given in honor of the Athenian victory at Battle of Salamis during the Peloponnesian War. In this address, he extolled Athens many virtues and called for national pride as well as a spirit of defiance against all enemies to Macedonia. This is why it is often referred to as the funeral oration because his speech ended with issuing an implicit challenge that should Greece be defeated, he would die willingly but remain willing forever if they were victorious.

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