Demosthenes, Orations 60. The Funeral Speech

LCL 374: 8-9

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ἰδεῖν καὶ μάλιστ᾿ ἐκ τοῦδε τοῦ νόμου καθ᾿ ὃν αἱρεῖται τὸν ἐροῦντ᾿ ἐπὶ ταῖς δημοσίαις ταφαῖς· εἰδυῖα γὰρ παρὰ τοῖς ἀγαθοῖς ἀνδράσιν τὰς μὲν τῶν χρημάτων κτήσεις καὶ τῶν κατὰ τὸν βίον ἡδονῶν ἀπολαύσεις ὑπερεωραμένας, τῆς δ᾿ ἀρετῆς καὶ τῶν ἐπαίνων πᾶσαν τὴν ἐπιθυμίαν οὖσαν, ἐξ ὧν ταῦτ᾿ ἂν αὐτοῖς μάλιστα γένοιτο λόγων, τούτοις ᾠήθησαν δεῖν αὐτοὺς τιμᾶν, ἵν᾿ ἣν ζῶντες ἐκτήσαντ᾿ εὐδοξίαν, αὕτη καὶ τετελευτηκόσιν αὐτοῖς 3ἀποδοθείη. εἰ μὲν οὖν τὴν ἀνδρείαν μόνον αὐτοῖς τῶν εἰς ἀρετὴν ἀνηκόντων ὑπάρχουσαν ἑώρων, ταύτην ἂν ἐπαινέσας ἀπηλλαττόμην τῶν λόγων· ἐπειδὴ δὲ καὶ γεγενῆσθαι καλῶς καὶ πεπαιδεῦσθαι σωφρόνως καὶ βεβιωκέναι φιλοτίμως συμβέβηκεν αὐτοῖς, ἐξ ὧν εἰκότως ἦσαν σπουδαῖοι, αἰσχυνοίμην ἂν εἴ τι τούτων φανείην παραλιπών. ἄρξομαι δ᾿ ἀπὸ τῆς τοῦ γένους αὐτῶν ἀρχῆς.


Ἡ γὰρ εὐγένεια τῶνδε τῶν ἀνδρῶν ἐκ πλείστου χρόνου παρὰ πᾶσιν ἀνθρώποις ἀνωμολόγηται. οὐ [1390]γὰρ μόνον εἰς πατέρ᾿ αὐτοῖς καὶ τῶν ἄνω προγόνων κατ᾿ ἄνδρ᾿ ἀνενεγκεῖν ἑκάστῳ τὴν φύσιν ἔστιν, ἀλλ᾿ εἰς ὅλην κοινῇ τὴν ὑπάρχουσαν πατρίδα, ἧς αὐτόχθονες ὁμολογοῦνται εἶναι. μόνοι γὰρ πάντων ἀνθρώπων, ἐξ ἧσπερ ἔφυσαν, ταύτην ᾤκησαν καὶ τοῖς ἐξ αὑτῶν παρέδωκαν, ὥστε δικαίως ἄν τις ὑπολάβοι, τοὺς μὲν ἐπήλυδας ἐλθόντας εἰς τὰς πόλεις καὶ τούτων πολίτας προσαγορευομένους


The Funeral Speech

rites in general and, in particular, from this law in accordance with which it chooses the speaker at our state-funerals. For knowing that among good men the acquisition of wealth and the enjoyment of the pleasures that go with living are scorned.a and that their whole desire is for virtue and words of praise, the citizens were of the opinion that we ought to honour them with such eulogies as would most certainly secure them in death the glory they had won while living. Now, if it were my view that, of those3 qualities that constitute virtue, courage alone was their possession, I might praise this and be done with the speaking, but since it fell to their lot also to have been nobly born and strictly brought up and to have lived with lofty ideals, because of all which they had every reason to be good men, I should be ashamed if I were found to have passed over any of these topics.b I shall begin from the origin of their race.c

The nobility of birth of these men has been acknowledged4 from time immemorial by all mankind. For it is possible for them and for each one of their remote ancestors man by man to trace back their being, not only to a physical father, but also to this land of theirs as a whole, a common possession, of which they are acknowledged to be the indigenous children.d For alone of all mankind they settled the very land from which they were born and handed it down to their descendants, so that justly one may assume that those who came as migrants into their cities and are denominated citizens of the same are comparable

DOI: 10.4159/DLCL.demosthenes-orations_lx_funeral_speech.1949