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Lecture

Thucydides "funeral oration"

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Department
Classics
Course
CLA232H1
Professor
Victoria Wohl
Semester
Winter

Description
January 11 , 2011 Vocabulary  Demokratia—the kratos(authority/rule) of the demos (the masses, ordinary citizen)  Aristokratia—kratos—sovereignty of the aristo—best people  Epitophios Logos—over the graves of the dead—speech  Kleos—immortal glory  Autochthony, all the same people of the earth, passing down virtues form ancestors  Idiotous—person who doesn’t participate in democracy  Kalokaguthia—kalos—good beautiful noble excellent—agathos means the same thing—the quality of being good beautiful noble excellent—thus nobility  Eleutheria—one who has freedom would be called elueutheria—os-oi  Andreia—bravery  Erastes—lover  Direct Democracy  no distance at all people are the government, decisions made directly, every decision in Athens, war, peace, taxes, made by assembly of Athenian citizens, vote put to them  Every citizen gets to hold office  Every office accept general chosen by law, rotated every year, every citizen got a chance to hold office, they could all sit on the council that developed legislation, every citizen participated directly  Demokratia—the kratos(authority/rule) of the demos (the masses, ordinary citizen) o Old elites used to rule the whole show o When Athens shifted from aristocracy to democracy the old elite felt disenfranchised, different take on what Demokratia meant not the sovereign authority of citizen body, but the tyranny of mob  Aristokratia—kratos—sovereignty of the aristo—best people o Unhappy about democracy  Women and slaves who couldn’t vote were unhappy too o Potential for tension  Percales funeral both reflects and mediates tensions What was the occasion of this speech?  430-1bce end of first Peloponnesian war  Athens and Sparta  Memorialize those who died  Greek word for funeral oration: o Epitophios Logos—over the graves of the dead—speech  Delivered every year  Democratic updating of older tradition to homer o Kleos—immortal glory  The idea of immortal glory worked we still know who they all are today  Heroes give lives for glory  No one gets named individually in funeral oration o Whole community dying for the city, collective glory o Speech doesn’t name individuals name or details Why so few concrete details about the war?  Focusing on collective and moral value of fight  Room to disagree room for contention  Doesn’t say what specific battles were won  Unambiguous values and morals and ideals of Athens  Purpose not to honour the dead but encourage the living  Showing that this ceremony is what is worth dying for  Direct window in Athenian values  Who they are and what they’re willing to die for Every year man was chosen for intellectual gifts and reputation  Percales chosen o General and prominent figure in 450s, 40s, 30s o Taken from larger work “History of Peloponnesian War”  Whose words? Percales actual words or words Thucydides put into his mouth o Difficult with speeches, Thucydides writing 20 years after the speech, he says “in this history I’ve made use of speeches some delivered before or just after, difficult to be precise” o Style of speech is dense, abstract, complicated, hardest Greek, convoluted, very original language, hard to follow, style most of Thucydides history written in o Both men living in Athens during this period, both intelligent men, both equally qualified to represent Athenian ideals o Ideals and values expressed, not historical accuracy o Read social history outside of a text  Thucydides—History of Peloponnesian war o Qualities identified in text  Manliness  Courage  Freedom  Discipline  Logic/rationality  Pride  Political equality  Democracy  Social equity  Use of wealth  Nobility Starts with praise of ancestors, why?  Good men by birth, inherited form ancestors “in this land of ours we’ve always had the same people living and by their courage and virtues handed it onto us” o Autochthony, all the same people of the earth, passing down virtues form ancestors o Elitism o If Don’t live in Athens don’t have our blood don’t inherit these things, but Thucydides talks about each generation inherited land and handed it down better to the next generation  Wealth and moral superiority o Whole community becomes an elite First thing he praises is democracy, What aspects of democracy does he praise?  Power for the people  Everyone equal before law  No one excluded  Everyone respects the law o Nothing is said about practices, or about how their democracy functioned, no details but instead abstract values o Democrats because we love freedom, we’re egalitarians, etc o Democracy becomes part of their very essence as Athenians  Glosses over all differences, represents everyone as equal o “all interested not only in own affairs but affairs of the state” o Idiotous—person who doesn’t participate in democracy o Kalokaguthia—kalos—good beautiful noble excellent—agathos means the same thing— the quality of being good beautiful noble excellent—thus nobility  Qualities in Athenian bloodline o Beauty and good taste delights us everyday o Talking to demos o Some of those guys rich and powerful with beautiful houses, good food, all forms of nobility o Others average farmer and hobblers Not everyone in the demos is going to have all he describes, why does he pretend all of the audience has beauty and good taste?  About appreciation  Make everyone feel like one, emphasise equality  Politicians going to great lengths to make themselves look like regular people o Ex American president Bush, rich living off aristocratic family, in campaign shows himself being a regular farm boy eating a burger o Percales levelling everyone off o We’re all an elite, is Percales point o Address suspicions of old elite guys  Percales from an old elite family, telling aristocracy not to think of democracy as great unwashed mob, but a family of equality, minimizing social tension and antagonism o Festivals, sac
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