Demosthenes, Orations 60. The Funeral Speech

LCL 374: 6-7

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Ἐπειδὴ τοὺς ἐν τῷδε τῷ τάφῳ κειμένους, ἄνδρας ἀγαθοὺς ἐν τῷ πολέμῳ γεγονότας, ἔδοξε τῇ πόλει δημοσίᾳ θάπτειν καὶ προσέταξεν ἐμοὶ τὸν νομιζόμενον [1389]λόγον εἰπεῖν ἐπ᾿ αὐτοῖς, ἐσκόπουν μὲν εὐθὺς ὅπως τοῦ προσήκοντος ἐπαίνου τεύξονται, ἐξετάζων δὲ καὶ σκοπῶν ἀξίως εἰπεῖν τῶν τετελευτηκότων ἕν τι τῶν ἀδυνάτων εὕρισκον ὄν. οἳ γὰρ τὴν ὑπάρχουσαν πᾶσιν ἔμφυτον τοῦ ζῆν ὑπερεῖδον ἐπιθυμίαν, καὶ τελευτῆσαι καλῶς μᾶλλον ἠβουλήθησαν ἢ ζῶντες τὴν Ἑλλάδ᾿ ἰδεῖν ἀτυχοῦσαν, πῶς οὐκ ἀνυπέρβλητον παντὶ λόγῳ τὴν αὑτῶν ἀρετὴν καταλελοίπασιν; ὁμοίως μέντοι διαλεχθῆναι τοῖς πρότερόν ποτ᾿ εἰρηκόσιν ἐνθάδ᾿ εἶναί μοι δοκεῖ.


Ὡς μὲν οὖν ἡ πόλις σπουδάζει περὶ τοὺς ἐν τῷ πολέμῳ τελευτῶντας ἔκ τε τῶν ἄλλων ἔστιν


The Funeral Speech



The Funeral Speecha

After the State decreed that those who repose in this tomb, having acquitted themselves as brave men in the war, should have a state-funeral, and appointed me to the duty of delivering over them the customary speech, I began straightway to study how they might receive their due tribute of praise; but as I studied and searched my mind the conclusion forced itself upon me that to speak as these dead deserve was one of those things that cannot be done. For, since they scorned the love of life that is inborn in all men and chose rather to die nobly than to live and look upon Greece in misfortune, how can they have failed to leave behind them a record of valour surpassing all power of words to express? Nevertheless I propose to treat the theme in the same vein as those who have previously spoken in this place from time to time.

That the State seriously concerns itself with those2 who die in battle it is possible to infer both from these

  • aIn this genre ὦ ἄνδρες Ἀθηναῖοι is unusable because aliens and women were present; there was no salutation for mixed audiences.
DOI: 10.4159/DLCL.demosthenes-orations_lx_funeral_speech.1949