Thucydides’ History Book 2: The Funeral Oration

Chapter 36

I shall begin from our first forefathers ; for it is both right and fitting on this sort of occasion that this honour of remembrance be given to them. For the same men ever inhabited the land and by succession of those born after until now, they handed it down, still free due to their virtue. And those men are worthy of commendation but more yet are our fathers ; for having acquired in addition what they received, whatsoever we have is the empire they left behind, and not without great toil, for those of us now present as a legacy. Most parts of it we have ourselves increased, those of us being, for the most part, in the prime of our lives, and we have readied the city to be more self-sufficient than all others, both for war and for peace. And of those deeds done for war, by which each thing was acquired, whether it was these men in any way or our fathers, whether from the barbarian or from the Hellene pursuing war, we eagerly defended ourselves, but since I do not wish to speak at great length among those who know these things, I shall let it be ; but from what sort of devotion did we come upon this and with what sort of government and out of what sorts of habits has greatness arisen, having revealed these things first, I go on to this commendation, believing that for those present it would not be unbecoming that this is said and that for the entire crowd both townsmen and guests it is profitable to hear of it.

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