Reading questions for Thucydides, part 1

I am having technical difficulties, so I will not be able to do full reading questions right now. I will do an update as soon as I can . For now, you can work on these.

**Update: the remaining questions are now up

(1)  We’ll start with the “Funeral Oration.”  What are some of the ritual practices Thucydides mentions in the opening paragraph?  What do you suppose they mean?  How do they differ from contemporary practices of mourning the war dead?

(2)  What do you suppose is the general function of a funeral oration of this sort?  Try to think of a few different ones.

(3)  What are some of the characteristics that Pericles cites as essential to Athenian culture?

(4)  What does Pericles suggest the Athenian soldiers died for?  Did they die for their fellow citizens’ freedom?

(5)  How does Pericles suggest that his audience mourn?  What does his advice tell us about what he thinks makes life worth living?  How does his position differ from contemporary understandings?

(6) What are some of the main consequences Thucydides describes about the plague in Athens?

(7) Are there any parallels between the the consequences Thucydides describes and the virtues Pericles ascribes to the Athenians?

(8) Both the “Funeral Oration” and the “Account of the Plague in Athens” were written as part of Thucydides famous book, The History of the Peloponnesian War. In the original book, these two portions of the text occur side by side (the Funeral Oration is first, then the account of the plague). Why do you think Thucydides put them side by side?


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