Athenian Mentality In Pericles Funeral Oration

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The Athenians in ancient Greece have always been known as being a powerful people with exemplary moral and legal codes that have been used as a model for later governments. However, in Pericles’ Funeral Oration, he expounds on how the Athenian mentality and way of life is superior to all of the others due to the values that they deem as important in their society. According to Pericles, the Athenians consider themselves to be an intellectual people that treat others in a just manner while preserving their own self-interest. He emphasizes the fact that although the Athenians are successful imperialists, they maintain a worldly view by accepting people from different backgrounds, treating their inferiors in a liberal way by…show more content…
This is especially important since Periclean Athens is an empirical state and does not solely enforce their own ideals on the places they conquer, but instead also learns from other cultures and uses them to improve their own society. In Pericles’ Funeral Oration, Pericles discusses Athenian worldliness in the sense of military security, and that Athens is “open to the world, and we (Athenians) have no periodical deportations” due to their reliance on “real courage and loyalty” and not “secret weapons” (146). In short, the Athenian value of worldliness stems from the value they place on bravery, as they do not want to seem perturbed by foreigners in their homeland as that might be seen as a sign of weakness. This example from Pericles’ Funeral Oration is similar to how the Athenians are not able to let the people from the island of Melos continue to live in a sovereign state after visiting them with the intention of getting them on their side, as that would be regarded as “a sign of weakness in us (the Athenians)”, whereas fear and hatred would be positive as it would be “evidence of our (Athenian) power. (402). Based on this piece of evidence, it is clear that the Athenians are primarily concerned with their image above all else, and will go to any extent to preserve it in order to prove their superiority and power to others, especially their greatest enemies, the Spartans. Therefore, the Athenians do not fully live up to their own professed ideal of being cosmopolitan as they do this to prevent others from viewing them as

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