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A history of Greece - Essay Example

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Pericles was an influential statesmen and orator and the general of Athens during the time, what is now described by historians as the “Golden age of Athens”. To be more general it was the time between the Persian and Peloponnesian wars…
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War between Athens and Sparta in his book, “History of the Peloponnesian War”. It was said after his death that the history was recollected through his accounts where he discusses the 27 year war between the two neighbors with strict reliance on evidence and on the philosophy of cause and effect. He is known to be the pioneer of the international relations school of thought “political realism”. Pericles funeral oration was given by the Athenian General Pericles after the end of the first year of war with Sparta, and it was done to honor and bury the war dead. It was recorded by Thucydides that the war dead would be left in a tent for three days after which they would be buried in Kerameikos, and then someone would sing their praises and tell stories of their braveries. During 431 BC Athens was going through a war with Sparta as already mentioned before, and there were no signs of victory or defeat in sight while the casualties were mounting to unexpected numbers.; That was when Pericles delivered this speech to praise the war dead and to sing the praises of the motherland (Athens), and in the end he delivered an epilogue to remind the audience to not speak over the dead. Pericles praises the main qualities of Athenians as the people of a country where they are free. They are all equal and no one is above the law; they live a free life and can sustain any life they want. He says that the people of Athens welcome immigrants from neighboring regions with open arms to come and see the prosperity of the Athenian people. According to him, the equality and openness raised the rank of Athens and established it as a great city of Greece. Pericles praises the people of Athens by proclaiming that the principle of the Athenian men is to die with honor and not to submit to the Spartans because, according to him, Athenian men consider it honorable to die rather than live while in submission to the oppressors and their enemies. Pericles considers Athenian men to be free, and for them freedom means happiness and to be able to sustain happiness. They are brave and this is the reason why they are not afraid to go to war with any nation including Sparta. According to Pericles Athens was a nation by far better than Sparta. Sparta were blood thirsty warmongers whose life began and ended with wars, while Athens was a country that loved art and literature. Pericles contrasted that Athens welcomed foreigners to its country while Spartans were much jealous of the achievements of the Athenian people and envied their freedom and prosperity. He says that Athens is a democracy where decisions are not to be made by one individual but through unanimous agreement, thus implying that such is not the case in Sparta. He further exemplifies Athens by stating that in Athens, unlike in Sparta, equal justice is available to all people and this is one of the elements that differentiates Sparta from Athens where a person is identified by his deeds and not by wealth and neither does the government interfere in the life of any individual as long as he serves the state. The Athenian society was near perfect according to the speech done by Pericles. Although this might have been done so as to raise the courage of the fellow Athenians, his accounts have been considered correct by many historians who. Athens’s plusses were its art and literature, the freedom that ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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