•  Pericles' Funeral Oration  •

•  Thucydides  •

a crowd gathered, listening to Pericles' speech
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Duration: 22 min 34"
Recorded: 2023
Price : $/€ 25 (audiobook)


About the Funeral Oration of Pericles

The Funeral Oration is a famous speech delivered by the Athenian statesman Pericles (Gr.: Περικλῆς) during the Peloponnesian War. Given in 431 BCE, the speech honors those who had died in the conflict. Pericles praised the virtues of Athenian democracy, emphasizing the city-state's commitment to freedom, equality, and the pursuit of excellence. He argued that the Athenian way of life was worth dying for, asserting the uniqueness of their political system and the benefits it brought to its citizens.

Pericles also celebrated the concept of meritocracy, asserting that social status should be based on individual achievements rather than birth or wealth. He emphasized the importance of education and participation in public life as essential elements of Athenian citizenship. Furthermore, Pericles acknowledged the sacrifices made by the fallen soldiers and reassured the bereaved families that their loss contributed to the greater good of Athens.

The Funeral Oration reflects Pericles' views on democracy, civic duty, and the exceptionalism of Athens. It has been considered a foundational text in Western political thought, highlighting the values that shaped the golden age of Athenian democracy.

You can follow the Greek text a/o a translation in English, online at the Perseus Library website.
Four different English translations of the Oration can be found at Wikisource.


about Thucydides

Thucydides (Gr.: Θουκυδίδης) (c. 460–c. 395 BCE) was an ancient Greek historian and military general known for his influential work "History of the Peloponnesian War." Born in Athens during the Golden Age of Pericles, Thucydides played a key role in the conflict between Athens and Sparta, which inspired his historical writings.
A contemporary of Herodotus, another renowned historian, Thucydides is distinct for his analytical and objective approach. He sought to provide a factual and impartial account of events, avoiding embellishments or attributing them to divine intervention. Thucydides' emphasis on the importance of human agency and rational causes in historical events marked a departure from the more mythological narratives of his time.
Thucydides himself participated in the Peloponnesian War, but he was exiled from Athens due to a military failure. This exile likely afforded him the opportunity to travel, gather information, and write his historical masterpiece. His work is characterized by meticulous research, a focus on political and military aspects, and an exploration of the complex motivations driving human behavior during times of conflict. Thucydides' analytical approach and commitment to empirical evidence have earned him a lasting reputation as one of the founding figures of Western historiography.


About the audio~videobook

audiobook and or videobook the 'Funeral Oration of Pericles' by ThucydidesThe recording contains the unabridged oration of Pericles as written by Thucydides in Ancient Greek. The videobook (which will be available soon) shows the highlighted Greek text simultaneously with the reading. After purchase you will be able to download the relevant file(s), containing the work in mp3 a/o mp4 format.

The videobook comes with (optional) captions in English. Other languages on request.

You can listen to part B.44 of Pericles' “Funeral Oration”, an audio sample of the present audiobook. Please, click on the play-button bellow and, if you wish, follow the Ancient Greek text lower on the page, or alternatively watch the video, which is provided with a quick translation in English. Thank you!

Download the sample mp3

«δι᾽ ὅπερ καὶ τοὺς τῶνδε νῦν τοκέας, ὅσοι πάρεστε, οὐκ ὀλοφύρομαι μᾶλλον ἢ παραμυθήσομαι. ἐν πολυτρόποις γὰρ ξυμφοραῖς ἐπίστανται τραφέντες: τὸ δ᾽ εὐτυχές, οἳ ἂν τῆς εὐπρεπεστάτης λάχωσιν, ὥσπερ οἵδε μὲν νῦν, τελευτῆς, ὑμεῖς δὲ λύπης, καὶ οἷς ἐνευδαιμονῆσαί τε ὁ βίος ὁμοίως καὶ ἐντελευτῆσαι ξυνεμετρήθη. [2] χαλεπὸν μὲν οὖν οἶδα πείθειν ὄν, ὧν καὶ πολλάκις ἕξετε ὑπομνήματα ἐν ἄλλων εὐτυχίαις, αἷς ποτὲ καὶ αὐτοὶ ἠγάλλεσθε: καὶ λύπη οὐχ ὧν ἄν τις μὴ πειρασάμενος ἀγαθῶν στερίσκηται, ἀλλ᾽ οὗ ἂν ἐθὰς γενόμενος ἀφαιρεθῇ. [3] καρτερεῖν δὲ χρὴ καὶ ἄλλων παίδων ἐλπίδι, οἷς ἔτι ἡλικία τέκνωσιν ποιεῖσθαι: ἰδίᾳ τε γὰρ τῶν οὐκ ὄντων λήθη οἱ ἐπιγιγνόμενοί τισιν ἔσονται, καὶ τῇ πόλει διχόθεν, ἔκ τε τοῦ μὴ ἐρημοῦσθαι καὶ ἀσφαλείᾳ, ξυνοίσει: οὐ γὰρ οἷόν τε ἴσον τι ἢ δίκαιον βουλεύεσθαι οἳ ἂν μὴ καὶ παῖδας ἐκ τοῦ ὁμοίου παραβαλλόμενοι κινδυνεύωσιν. [4] ὅσοι δ᾽ αὖ παρηβήκατε, τόν τε πλέονα κέρδος ὃν ηὐτυχεῖτε βίον ἡγεῖσθε καὶ τόνδε βραχὺν ἔσεσθαι, καὶ τῇ τῶνδε εὐκλείᾳ κουφίζεσθε. τὸ γὰρ φιλότιμον ἀγήρων μόνον, καὶ οὐκ ἐν τῷ ἀχρείῳ τῆς ἡλικίας τὸ κερδαίνειν, ὥσπερ τινές φασι, μᾶλλον τέρπει, ἀλλὰ τὸ τιμᾶσθαι. »

video sample of the Funeral Oration of Pericles on YouTube