Chapter 2. “Lovers of It”: Erotic Ambiguity in the Periclean Funeral Oration

And so it is that these men have proved themselves worthy of their city. As for you, the living, pray that your resolve will be no less unshakable, yet resolve to be no less bold against the enemy. And don’t just calculate the benefits of beating him back—benefits that it would take too long for someone to recount, nor do any of you need reminding. No, you must actually gaze daily upon the city’s power and become lovers of it. And when all this magnificence has impressed itself upon you, reflect on the kind of men who made it possible, men whose deeds told of bravery, duty, and honor. For if some mishap were to trip them up, rather than deny the city the benefit of their courage, they would contribute to the common enterprise in the most glorious fashion imaginable.
Thucydides 2.43.1
Pericles son of Xanthippus was chosen to speak.” And so he did in the epitaphios logos of 431 BCE, the “speech at the grave” to honor the past year’s war dead. [1] The written text of Pericles’ speech, if it ever existed, has not survived. What has is Thucydides’ version (2.35–46), which reaches its climax when the orator, having just expounded the rationale behind the heroes’ choice to die, proceeds to advise his listeners that rational calculation—logos—will not suffice if they, the living, are to live up to the standard set by the fallen. “No, you must actually fix your gaze daily upon the city’s power, and become lovers of it,” he declares. But why the sudden inadequacy of logos in this epitaphios logos? And what is this “it” (autês) that the orator expects his listeners to fall in love with? Is it the city or—more unsettling—its power?
In what follows, we shall explore the Periclean Funeral Oration as the orator’s response to a crisis in persuasion, a moment when Pericles, faced with the uncertainty of rational deliberation as a means of uniting the polis, resorts to an image, that of the erastês, designed to accommodate—and thus conquer—a divided audience. For it is an image that through its paradoxical and dissonant implications will unite an audience deeply divided over how to fight the war that Pericles has got them into.

Erôs and Oratory

Let us begin with a truism: objects of desire must either be persons, whether divine or human, or things, whether concrete or abstract. In classical Greek, the verb eran and words derived from it (henceforth, “erôs-vocabulary”), where they denote desire for persons, refer in nearly all cases to desire of a sexual nature. [2] Could, then, an erôs for things—as we have seen, not the default association for erôs [3] —have occupied a special category? That it did for the orators I argue in what follows. To summarize, the orators appear to have treated an erôs for things, especially a commendable one, as something out of the ordinary, a sentiment evoking complicated, even risky, associations. Later, we shall see Isocrates glossing his own use of erôs-vocabulary as boldly paradoxical, even transgressive, when he commends erôs for renown or eloquence. So, too, when Thucydides’ Pericles, deprecating the logic of day-to-day, urges listeners to feast their eyes on the city’s power and thereby fall in love, [4] he sets in motion a dynamic putting listeners in touch with a higher discourse-community and a higher logic, the logic of erôs—a logic, as we shall see, of paradox and revalorization.
How, though, can we be sure that city-erôs (as opposed to erôs for sex itself) would have occupied so special a category? Here is where the orators come in. When we examine their use of erôs-vocabulary, we notice a curious fact. Outside the corpus of Attic oratory (the “ten Attic orators,” Demades), erôs could express desire for all manner of love-objects, sexual and otherwise. But within that corpus, certain patterns emerge. Thus no surviving text of a speech delivered in either a political or a judicial setting, or plausibly meant to model such speech-making to any degree, shows confirmable instances of erôs-vocabulary in non-sexual contexts. [5] Judicial oratory will, of course, have had occasion to address the issue of sexual desire, and did in fact make use of erôs-vocabulary to that end. [6] But non-sexual instances are confined to Isocrates, and those only in writings never intended for delivery before a jury or assembly.
To be sure, we find exceptions—not many—to this pattern when we move beyond the strict confines of the corpus. Yet the “epideictic” (i.e. non-judicial, non-political) cast of the passage in which Pseudo-Demades’ speaker proclaims himself an “erastês of peace” is difficult to miss, and, I would suggest, explains the author’s choice of noun (fr. 78 de Falco; see below on erôs and epideictic). Different is the use made by a pair of Thucydidean assembly speakers and a courtroom defendant in Gorgias. Both appear to echo medical notions of erôs as a psychologically incapacitating condition, a usage that could have enjoyed a certain currency in the later fifth century, though it must have quickly died out, to judge from the evidence. [7] But what about Aristophanes’ Knights, a comedy shot-through with parody of demagogic speechifying? Do we not find there assembly politicians, or their comic surrogates, proclaiming erôs for the body politic of the city of Athens? Indeed we do, a fact that, along with the parallel offered by the Periclean Funeral Oration, has led some to argue for erôs-language in the real-life audience-bonding of late fifth-century assembly-speakers. [8] Yet in comparing Knights with usage patterns in the orators, we discover that the latter avoid not just erôs-vocabulary outside sexual contexts. They avoid all sorts of warmly patriotic, first-person affirmations of a type much in evidence in Aristophanes’ play. [9]
Of course, I cannot rule out the possibility that a play like Knights opens a window into oratorical fashions, those of 420s Athens, otherwise poorly documented in surviving evidence. [10] Still, it matters that our earliest preserved speeches, the courtroom and assembly orations of Antiphon, Lysias, Andocides, and Isocrates, like later political and judicial oratory, avoid speaking of erôs for this or that constitution, for city or dêmos, for success, whether honestly won or not, in the field, courts, or assembly, even where such an erôs arguably would have made sense. [11] Why, then, that pattern of lost opportunities, opportunities that an Isocrates writing not for oral delivery in courts or assembly readily avails himself of? [12] I suggest we are dealing with what Bakhtin would term “speech genre” [13] and Aristotle, to prepon, “appropriateness.” Dionysius remarks that juries and assemblies “are more easily pleased by a simpler and more ordinary manner of speech” (Demosthenes 15). With that contrast what Dionysius has to say about Isocrates’ “sprawling and rich abundance” and “emotive element,” features of a style more congenial to ceremonial recitation than to the courts (Isocrates 2). Isocrates himself doubtless would have agreed. In the Antidosis, where the author assumes the persona of a court pleader, we learn all about Isocrates’ preferred discursive mode: how it is more poetic and more varied, strives after loftier and more inventive thought, and employs compositional features of a more striking character than one associates with the courts (15.46–50). Indeed, the philistines who lump petty court-case speeches with orations of loftier aims do not realize that the former should be composed asphalôs (“taking no risks”) and haplôs (“simply”), the latter epideiktikôs (“in showy fashion”) and akribôs (“elegantly”). [14] Isocrates, in short, feels a special affinity for display oratory—for epideictic. [15]
Extrapolating, then, from usage patterns noted earlier, erôs-vocabulary would seem a feature of Isocrates’ distinctively “showy” style. But a feature distinctive to “show” rhetoric generally? That is, I admit, a lot to hang on the stylistic habits of just one writer. Yet Thucydidean and Gorgianic usage seems to follow a similar pattern. Both Thucydides and Gorgias blame misguided decisions on erôs (Thucydides, 3.45.5, 6.13.1, 6.24.2; Gorgias frr. 11.15–19, 11a.15 D-K); that accords with our sources’ widespread approval for reasoned deliberation as essential to any kind of prudent decision-making (e.g. dicast’s oath, Aristotle Rhetoric 1375a29; Politics 1287a25–27; Thucydides 3.42.1; Sophocles Oedipus the King 524). Yet Thucydides in the Periclean Funeral Oration, and Gorgias in his own Funeral Oration, commend the erôs of the self-sacrificing citizen-soldier: an irrational city-erôs in Thucydides (“don’t just calculate” etc., 2.43.1), a safely “legitimate” sort of erôs (nomimôn erôtôn) in Gorgias (fr. 6 D-K). Focusing now on Thucydides, why this turn to the erotic? What Pericles must do is praise the dead as they deserve. What he can do is turn that into an opportunity to exhort the living in ways problematic for any but the epideictic orator.

Festival and Ceremony

What is epideictic? According to Aristotle, it is oratory to be read (Rhetoric 1414a18–19). Yet Aristotle’s examples suggest connections between epideictic as he conceives of it and speeches delivered at ceremonial occasions (1414b27–35, 1415b31, 1418a33–38). At such occasions, what would have been expected? Something out of the ordinary, an impressive performance. For, as Aristotle points out, what sets audiences for epideictic apart is that they are “beholders” of a speaker’s “power.” [16] The epideictic orator will, then, have had to speak in a fashion that Isocrates describes as epideiktikôs, “showy,” and anyone who does so must, as we have seen, take risks.
Likening epideictic to the dithyramb, [17] Aristotle provides us with a clue to the character of this risk-taking. For it is distinctive of epideictic to use bold figures of speech and thought, conceits that seem to test the limits of oratory itself by tracing out the fault lines between ceremonial decorum and a kind of festive license. One occasion for what we are terming “epideictic” was the public funeral, and it is the oratory of such funerals that provides the most extensive record of ceremonial oratory in the classical period. [18] Funerals were, of course, solemn events, but in ancient Greece they could take on a carnivalesque character: feasting and athletic competition along with grieving. Even lamentation itself could represent a release of inhibition. Thus Homer describes the grieving Achilles as indulging a “lust” (himeros) for the “pleasure” (tetarpato) of tears during his meeting with Priam (Iliad 24.513–514). Expressions of grief, and the funeral generally, could even turn into a frenzied display threatening the public order. Τhat, at least, was one of the reasons why funerals often came under regulation by the polis. [19]
This tricky negotiation between license and restraint will doubtless have raised the stakes for funeral orators like Pericles. [20] But funeral oratory called for more than a delicate touch; speakers were expected, among other things, to induce in listeners an ecstatic thrill. [21] To be sure, the imagistic and linguistic extravagance of funeral oratory could fall flat—such at least is the reaction of Pseudo-Longinus to expressions like “Xerxes, Zeus of the Persians,” or “vultures, living tombs” in the Funeral Oration of Gorgias (Pseudo-Longinus 3.2 = Gorgias fr. 5a D-K). As for the Demosthenic Funeral Oration, a risky venture from the start, since the orator must negotiate the delicate task of praising the victims of a crushing defeat (Chaeronea, 338 BCE), that speech contains sentiments whose extravagance prompts the speaker to beg the pardon of his audience:
And may no ill will attend my speech. For it seems to me that if someone were to say that the valor of these men was the soul of Greece, he would only be speaking the truth. For as soon as these men breathed their last, then was the pride of Greece laid low. Perhaps I will seem to speak extravagantly (huperbolên…legein), but it must be said all the same. Just as, should someone rob the world of its light, all remaining existence would become for us a grievous burden, so the loss of these men has brought low the onetime ambition of the Greeks and wrapped it in gloom.
Demosthenes 60.23–24
Doubtless our speaker apologizes for the bleak import of his words. But those sentiments would not have packed the punch they do without the extravagant comparison framing them.
If the speaker just quoted risks “speaking extravagantly,” he is in good company. In another funeral oration and in a not dissimilar vein, Hyperides likens Athens, judge of humanity and defender of Greece, to the sun that regulates and nourishes the world (oration 4 cols. 2–3). By his own account, Hyperides will not hesitate (ouk oknêsô) to venture the comparison, an admission designed in this case not to apologize for, but to highlight, the audacity of the rhetoric. Indeed, Pericles himself, renowned in antiquity for bold comparisons, outdid himself in one funeral oration that likened the loss of Athens’ young men to the loss of springtime from the year. [22] Philip Stadter points out the sophistic basis of the logic in this last comparison, [23] and it could well be in the area of just that kind of exhibitionism that ceremonial epideictic and sophistic epideixis (“demonstration”) overlap. [24] Still, at least one epideictic genre strongly suggests the aptness of Aristotle’s comparing epideictic with dithyramb. For funeral oration targets not so much the rational faculties of its audience as their passions and emotions. Indeed, Socrates in the Menexenus claims that funeral oratory produces in him a kind of patriotic rapture (Menexenus 235a–c), what Loraux calls “the spell of an ideality.” [25]
But the magic of Pericles’ Funeral Oration by no means restricts itself to abstract idealities. Material Athens, a land of plenty and a city distinctive for its appreciation of recreation and festivity, also figures. [26] So, too, does a tendency to aristocratize the Athenian Everyman, to instill in him a sense of himself as the crème de la crème, even in the face of obvious wealth- and social disparity. [27] As we shall, paradox spikes the heady cocktail that is this speech.

Erôs and Revalorization

Erôs-vocabulary in ancient Greek is connotationally complex. It denotes desires whose satisfaction will bring pleasure to the desirer. Yet key aspects of erôs—the experience of being in its grip, the things it leads one to do—arouse anxiety, even dread, in our sources. To paraphrase Sophocles, erôs drives men mad, makes criminals of the just, and ruins them (Antigone 787–793). In Hyperides, a speaker observes that erôs in concert with feminine wiles upsets a man’s natural equilibrium (phusis) and so brings about his undoing (Hyperides 3 col. 1, sect. 2; cf. Demosthenes 40.27). Hence in the courts erotic passion adduced as an excuse or explanation, like drunkenness or ignorance, for bad or unseemly behavior. [28]
Do the orators ever place an overtly positive construction on sexual passion? One example comes from a court speech, Aeschines’ Against Timarchus, in the course of which the orator launches into an extended, and for judicial oratory, unparalleled, eulogy of pederasty, an older man’s attraction to, and pursuit of, adolescent males (136–159). Why that eulogy? Aeschines, whose case against Timarchus hinges largely on matters of sexual misconduct, expects that an opponent will enter a counterplea defending, even praising, the sexual liaisons formed by the defendant, and will try to defame Aeschines, the prosecutor, as a sexual predator (132–135). But the fact that Aeschines disparages as encomium his opponent’s anticipated praise of Timarchus (enkômiasetai, 133) provides us with a way of thinking about the exceptional nature, and encomiastic character, of Aeschines’ own tribute to erôs. [29]
Indeed, praise of erôs seems to show a special affinity for speeches and related prose of an epideictic cast. Thus Gorgias in the Funeral Oration praises the honored dead for, among other things, “legitimate lust” (nomimôn erôtôn). In the Helen, a speech mixing praise with apologetic with theoretical speculation, the same writer cites epithumiai erôtos, the “longings for sex” felt by Helen’s admirers, as incitement to distinction in a variety of worthy pursuits (fr. 11.4 D-K). And well the orator should if he is to achieve his stated aim of rehabilitating Helen’s reputation. Yet in so doing, he stands established tradition on its head, tradition that denounced Helen as a “Hell…to ships, Hell to men, Hell to cities.” [30]
So, too, Isocrates in his own Helen challenges commonplace notions, this time, through deliberate echoes of both Thucydides and Euripides:
And not just Greeks and barbarians, but gods, too, were smitten by lust (erôs enepesen) for the hardships of that expedition, a lust so great that the gods did nothing to stop their own sons from taking part in the contest for Troy. On the contrary, Zeus, though he had been forewarned of Sarpedon’s fate, and Eos of her son Memnon’s, and Poseidon of Cycnus’, and Thetis of Achilles’—all of them urged their sons on and sent them off en masse, deeming it a finer thing (kallion) for them to die fighting for the daughter of Zeus than to live without having risked danger for her sake…And indeed, they reached the right decision (eulogôs…egnôsan). So, too, have I the right to describe the woman in such extravagant terms (têlikautais huperbolais).
Isocrates 10.52–54
Like Thucydides and Euripides, Isocrates characterizes an adventurous, ambitious spirit as erôs, one that befell (enepesen) a whole group of individuals. But Thucydides and Euripides present that erôs as deeply problematic—Euripides, as a deinos erôs, a “fierce” or “frightening lust.” [31] Isocrates sees it, or at least, “spins” it, differently. For Isocrates, the erôs prompting the whole Trojan War needs to be understood as ambition of heroic proportions, an erôs ennobled by the gods’ “rational decision” (eulogôs…egnôsan) to risk the lives of their children, the half-gods who would fight before the walls of Troy. And their decision serves to rationalize the orator’s own decision to praise Helen’s beauty, and the erôs aroused by it, as “extravagantly” as he does (54–55).
We find a repeat performance in the same writer’s Antidosis, where erôs likewise figures into Isocrates’ self-referential rhetoric. Thus the orator, warning his audience that he will speak “counter intuitively” (paradoxa, 272), begs them not to dismiss him outright for “madness” in challenging cherished beliefs (273). Having thus prepared us, he proceeds to use the language of censure to commend the ambition to become a skilled orator, and to explain the advantages eloquence confers:
I feel…that people would become better and worthier if in the matter of speaking well they were to adopt an ambitious frame of mind (philotimôs diatitheien), and lust (erastheien) for the ability to persuade their listeners, and furthermore, lust to gain the advantage (tês pleonexias epithumêsaien), though not in the way that the foolish think of it (mê tês hupo tôn anoêtôn nomizomenês), but in the truest sense of the term.
Isocrates 15.275
“To gain the advantage” translates pleonexia, a word whose negative connotations Isocrates both flags and derides as “the way that the foolish think of it.” How do the “foolish” think of it? As the unprincipled pursuit of personal gain, in a word, “greed,” or so Isocrates implies (276). But that is just how pleonexia was commonly understood. [32] We are, then, dealing with an explicitly counterintuitive construction of pleonexia, one as positive as “vulgar” notions of it are negative. So, too, the notion of a “lust” or erôs for the power to persuade (tou peithein dunasthai…erastheien) will have carried with it a certain shock value. Evoking popular mistrust of the technologies of persuasion, [33] it challenges common notions.
What have we learned? We have learned that the more showy and risky sort of rhetoric associated with epideictic could seek out and exploit a fraught sort of erôs, that the construction the “show” orator places on such erôs breaks with received notions, as in the case of Isocrates. Yet Isocrates finds in revalorization a powerful social dynamic. Through revalorization, he invites us to join his privileged speech-community, a community within which erôs counts as rational (cf. 10.54), and pleonexia as virtuous—counterintuitive to the many, but perfectly logical to the few. Still, revalorization like that is, in Isocrates’ words, “hyperbolic”: it shoots beyond some acceptable boundary. How is that a good thing? Vološinov, we recall, describes the “ideological sign” (i.e. the utterance) as Janus-faced, that is, as looking backwards and forwards as it crosses thresholds separating speech-communities and value systems. [34] What Isocrates does, then, is to invite us to cross that threshold, to join him in the pursuit of philosophia, his word for the higher rhetoric. In so doing, our outlook will be reframed, and concepts like pleonexia, re-evaluated. [35] But let us never forget the “transgressive” character of what we do. We need that to set us apart.
Returning, then, to the Periclean Funeral Oration, I suggest that Pericles employs a similar strategy of implanting in citizens a city-love fueled by ideologically dissonant values, a city-love where value-reversal at one level of analysis translates as value-affirmation at another. And he does so within a strategy of re-fashioning civic conflict into concordia discors, a harmony oblivious to the very real divisions inside itself.

Pericles’ Problem

When in 431 BCE war between Athens and the Peloponnesians broke out, the strategy devised by Pericles was to defend only the city, not the surrounding countryside. Hiding behind the city’s virtually impregnable defenses, and exploiting their control of the sea, Athenians would not be risking a pitched battle on home turf against superior forces. The catch was, of course, that rural Athenians would have to evacuate their lands, which they were understandably loath to do. [36] But when the expected invasion force came, its commander, the Spartan king Archidamus, adopted a clever plan. By occupying the outlying town of Acharnae and ravaging its territory, he hoped to estrange the Acharnians from other Athenians, that is, to induce stasis, division among the citizenry (2.20.4).
It soon became evident that his plan might succeed:
They [the Athenians] found themselves divided and seriously at odds with one another. Some urged an attack outside the walls, certain others resisted such a course. Soothsayers began to recite all sorts of oracles, which people interpreted as the inclination took them. As for the Acharnians (who deemed themselves no inconsiderable part of the Athenian body politic), since it was their land that was being ravaged, they pressed the hardest for a sortie. Thus in every way the polis had been thrown into an uproar.
Thucydides 2.21.3
It could not have been easy for Pericles to rally the support he needed. Pericles himself, in the speech Thucydides assigns him near the end of book one of the History, remarks that “farmers are the sort of people who will more readily expose their bodies than their possessions to the hazards of war” (1.141.5). The context of that generalization concerns Peloponnesians, [37] but Pericles generalizes; he could just as easily have been referring to the middling farmers of Attica, citizen-soldiers frustrated at not being allowed to defend their farms. [38] Those farmers probably would not have been alone in their disaffection. Important, too, would have been the landed gentry, who, as cavalry, carried the burden of protecting the city, but on top of that assumed burdens of a financial character. [39] By contrast, the thêtes, the landless poor, would have had less to complain about. [40] Yet Pericles, in his attempts to conciliate the others, could not risk alienating thêtes viewed by one writer as the mainstay of Athens’ maritime empire and radical democracy (Pseudo-Xenophon).
We see, then, that any speech to rally support would have needed to address not one but three constituencies: the largely rural hoplite class, the landed gentry, and the landless poor. How to address those diverse and, to a certain degree, conflicting interests? And how to guarantee that the dêmos, the voting public meeting as a body, would not rashly elect to abandon Pericles’ plan?

Pericles’ Solution

One expedient at Pericles’ disposal was to avoid having the matter of his war policy come up for debate. To quote Sicking, “When the fury and irritation in the city had reached its peak, he had refused to summon an assembly for fear that such an assembly would, swayed by anger, take the wrong decisions.” [41] Another would have been to use the public funeral, held every winter for the city’s war-dead, as a bully pulpit from which to pitch his case—not, as in an assembly speech, to propose and defend policies, certainly not as warm-up for an up-or-down vote (no such vote would have been taken), but to rally support and to remind Athenians what they were fighting for.
Curiously, Pericles’ speech, amid all its rallying and reminding, goes in for quite a bit of intricate finessing. Thus Ober remarks on the “deeply complex and often seemingly deliberately ambiguous” nature of passages devoted to praise of the city and its institutions. [42] Indeed, he points out how, in Pericles’ description of Athenian democracy (2.37.1), evasions and nuance can leave readers of the History wondering how well balanced the system really was—whether the speech as we have it might not serve to comment on class conflict threatening to develop into out-and-out stasis. [43] James McGlew, addressing the orator’s circumspection on the subject of civic freedom, argues that “Pericles is careful to restrict the idea of freedom and free behavior…to public activity,” a reflection of the war-footing the city was on at the time. [44] Victoria Wohl, also on the subject of freedom, notes how Pericles equivocates with the term eleutheros, “free.” Political freedom all citizens possessed; economic freedom was less evenly distributed, though Pericles does not let that fact “dim the aristocratic brilliance of the demos as a whole.” [45]
What the aforementioned readings share is a focus on what nowadays would be called “spin”: in Ober’s reading, the historian’s spin on the “fragility” of Athenian “greatness”; in McGlew’s and Wohl’s, the dramatized speaker’s effort to spin the city’s image in rhetorically expedient ways. Building on all three views, I suggest that spin here addresses the rhetorical challenges mentioned earlier. That is, its evasions and equivocations offer listeners, especially propertied interests and the politically disaffected, a chance to hear in Pericles’ rhetoric a message to their liking. Thus we can understand that rhetoric as give-and-take within a social context, as a performance shaped by the speaker’s grasp of the addressivity of his audience, the ideological stance conditioning how different sorts of listeners will have listened to him speak. [46]
We need, in other words, to understand these speech-acts as interactive, as dialogical. Bakhtin, commenting on externally directed action as, virtually by definition, interaction between actor and environment, will be our guide:
…what I grasp is not the object as an externally complete image, but rather my tactile experience corresponding to the object, and my muscular feeling of the object’s resistance, its heaviness, compactness, and so forth. [47]
Action responds. Its directedness shapes itself to the world experienced within the perception-horizon of the acting subject—it is, in its way, dialogical. If speech is a form of action, then any given set of speech-acts, even a rhetorical monologue like Pericles’, will likewise shape itself to the contours of the world—the audience—it confronts. [48]
And so it does in Pericles’ praise of Athenian democracy, where the speaker’s substitution of oikein (“to administer”) for kratein (“to rule,” “to exercise power”) glosses over what the Theban Herald in Euripides’ Suppliants finds so galling about democracy (411), a feature underscored by the word itself: sovereign power (kratos/kratein) vested in the dêmos. [49] Yet the democracy in “democracy” is further mitigated by the orator’s discussion of office-holding, specifically, its egalitarian character at Athens:
On the one hand (men), in name (onoma) our constitution is called “democracy” because of majoritarian administration (es pleionas oikein) in preference to that oriented to the few. On the other hand (de), all have equal recourse to the laws for settling private disputes. Yet a man here receives preferment on the basis of merit, as each stands in the public eye. For us, it is excellence (aretê) mostly (to pleon), not portion (meros), that qualifies one for service to his city (es ta koina).
Thucydides 2.37.1
For readers of Thucydides’ History, those words will resonate with the historian’s characterization of Periclean democracy as “democracy in name (logôi), though in fact (ergôi) rule (arkhê) exercised by the first man” (2.65.9), a words-versus-deeds antithesis privileging deeds as the more reliable criterion. [50] So, too, in the Periclean Funeral Oration, we have in Pericles’ definition of democracy a words-versus-deeds antithesis, only here, the “reality” proves subtly meritocratic. By the 430s, all nine major archonships at Athens were filled by lottery from a pool more or less coextensive with the body politic; virtually anyone might serve. Though archons so selected will have played a largely ceremonial role in many respects, the egalitarian character of their selection was, nevertheless, regarded as a defining feature of democracy at Athens. [51] But that is not what the orator highlights. Rather, he alludes to the fact that unpaid officials chosen by ballot, the generals especially, actually ran things—a fact earning grudging admiration for Athenian democracy from an otherwise antidemocratic text dating from the late 400s. [52] It is, then, striking that Pericles similarly contrasts the name “democracy” with the all important fact that, “for the most part,” not just anyone (as might be inferred from the name given to Athens’ constitution) but persons judged qualified were chosen “for public service.” [53]
Which brings us to ambiguity stemming from meros, which I translate as “one’s portion.” Does it, in other words, refer to election by lottery, a feature that, along with pay for, and general access to, office, set Athenian democracy apart? Or does it refer to the principle of rotation, what Aristotle calls “being ruled and ruling in turn” (en merei, Politics 1317a41–1317b3)? Or might it conceivably offer a subtle nod in the direction of a (by then, mostly obsolete) wealth-qualification? [54] I would suggest that it allows the listener to hear in it what he or she will.
Thus Pericles, in his praise of the Athenian constitution, does not simply buoy up the self-image of the dêmos; he negotiates the misgivings of democracy’s critics, as, notably, in the following, perhaps the single most famous sentence in the entire History:
We indulge our love for things of beauty without great expense, and our love for wisdom without softness.
Thucydides 2.40.1
Rusten, pointing out that the artistic and architectural amenities of Athens could not have come cheap, prefers to take philokaloumen as “we seek what is noble” as opposed to expensive. [55] Yet given the city’s financial reserves, amenities like the temples on the Acropolis arguably would have represented no crushing burden. [56] In any case, we can think of the phrase as directed to aristocratic critics of the city’s democratic building program, as an attempt to convey to those critics the sense that city does not allow its aesthetic or intellectual pursuits to bankrupt either the city’s coffers or the manhood of its citizens. [57]
More generally, we can think of Pericles’ praise of Athens as an almost collaborative effort. Writes Aristotle, “It is necessary in each and every situation to speak of everything that one’s audience honors as reality, whether that be among Scythians, Spartans, or philosophers” (Rhetoric 1367b9–11). Addressing that need, Pericles offers listeners the leeway to hear him praise that version of Athens that each severally prizes, or at least feels most comfortable with. In the process, listeners do not listen passively. Rather, they consummate the rhetoric; they participate in fashioning whichever vision each feels prompted to imprint on it. But Pericles does not simply pitch his message to appeal to all and sundry. He must also foster in listeners the sense that “my” Athens, the city “my kind” identifies with, is the same Athens that we all identify with. This he does through insistent use of the first-person plural: we indulge our love for things of beauty, our city is the education of Greece, and so on.

Words Fail

But the careful negotiation of diverse interests is only part of the plan. Another part is the negation of rhetoric itself. Thus Pericles leads off by deprecating the hazards he faces: of saying the wrong thing, of not being believed, of saying too much or too little, of arousing ill-will (2.35). Later, we hear about how he will not bore his audience with the usual history lecture (2.36.4), how the city’s power speaks louder than words (2.41.2), how no poet need eulogize the city (2.41.4), how consolation is difficult to offer (2.44.2), how Pericles has spoken only as well as he could (2.46.1).
Ober understands all this self-deprecation as an internal gloss, the historian’s commentary on the unreliability of rhetoric in comparison to deeds and facts, to scientific historiography. [58] But in the Periclean Funeral Oration, the speaker’s diffidence is itself thoroughly rhetorical. On one level, it seeks to diffuse envy. It functions, therefore, as captatio benevolentiae, self-presentation designed to win a favorable hearing from listeners—standard procedure for praise poetry as for oratory of all sorts. [59] But it also represents a strategy to control the reception of Pericles’ speech. If no one’s words, not even the speaker’s, not even the words of a poet like Homer (2.41.4), are adequate to the task at hand, then whose words are left to carry any weight at all? In default of the ideal orator, we must live with the orator we have.
This self-referential, anti-rhetorical rhetoric comes to a head when Pericles, having just discoursed eloquently on the heroes’ choice to die (2.42.4), ceases to assert and begins to exhort. In the process, he deprecates logos (rational calculation, argument) as insufficient to convince “you,” the living, to live up to the example set by the dead. “No, you must actually gaze daily upon the city’s power and become lovers of it” (2.43.1). But where can this epitaphios logos, this “speech at the graveside” go if speech will no longer suffice? I suggest that in the Periclean Funeral Oration, erôs takes logos to a whole new level.

Erotic Ambiguity

“Don’t just calculate the benefits…No, you must actually gaze daily upon the city’s power and become lovers of it.” Urging listeners to move beyond reason, logos, Pericles exhorts them to let passion, erôs, guide their judgment. [60] But what is it that listeners are supposed to feel so passionate about? Is this “it” (autês) to which Pericles refers the city or its power? Both candidates, city (polis) and power (dunamis), fit the syntax. Both have figured prominently in the run-up to this point; neither word order nor proximity tells decisively in favor of either. Hornblower remarks that “if the Athenians were being urged to become lovers of the power of Athens that would be an even more striking and aggressive idea”—more striking, that is, than if the city itself were the true love-object. [61] For power-lust was, we have seen, the mark of a tyrant. And tyrants were, so it was believed, democracy’s nemesis.
It is hard to conceive of a democrat like Pericles trying to instill in listeners an erôs as subversive as that. McGlew, for whom this is, first and foremost, city-love, nonetheless detects here a hint of power-lust, an evocation of the tyrant as model for an empowered and privileged citizenry. Still, tyrannical implications are, for McGlew, balanced by the would-be citizen-tyrant’s submission to a city that acknowledges his sacrifice and reciprocates. [62] Sara Monoson also elaborates a reciprocal model for the image. Taking “city” (polis) as love-object, [63] she suggests that citizens, like pederastic lovers, are encouraged to engage in reciprocal demonstrations of affection (philia) with their beloved. [64] There remain, however, difficulties. Whatever the antecedent to feminine autês, that, if personified, should, strictly speaking, be understood as female. Thus the protocols of the higher courtship, male-to-male (i.e. pederasty), will not exhaust this metaphor’s resonances. But no resonance, however disquieting, should be rejected simply because disquieting. Indeed, dissonance between this image’s multiple entailments may be just the point.
Let us begin with city-love, polis as the object of erôs. As an erastês of his city, the citizen-soldier can be expected to manifest a passionately felt affection or philia for his erômenê or “beloved.” Monoson’s schema of a respectable, even ennobling, exchange of goods will at this point come into play. Under that schema, war becomes a means for citizens to “contribute to the common enterprise in the most glorious fashion imaginable” (2.43.1.), and with a just return to be expected. What sort of return? The glory that attends death in battle.
That “contribution”—in Greek, eranos—becomes the locus of citizen-city reciprocity. [65] Eranos, a word cognate ultimately with erôs, means no one thing, but seems in all its meanings to stress a division of shares. [66] In classical Attic, it regularly referred to a joint loan or investment. [67] Wohl suggests a further resonance, that of a wedding feast binding citizens and city, living and dead, in a beautiful union. [68] Erôs leading to eranos will, then, have manifested what I call “communal erôs,” not a selfless, but a deeply self-interested desire for close-knit civic bonds, desire that finds validation and fulfillment in collective empowerment.
Still, “No one is so foolish as to feel erôs for death” (Sophocles Antigone 220). The city-loving soldier may not seek self-annihilation for its own sake, but how else can he consummate his love if not by dying? But who wants to die? That would be madness, the madness of erôs. [69] How, then, to overcome the citizen-soldier’s hesitation in the heat of battle? In part, by fixing the inner gaze of listeners on the image-ideal offered by the fallen. Mirroring their fantasies of self-fulfillment, that image kindles longing to merge with it, to live and die as did the honored dead. [70] Still, however magnetic that image, “the hardships of campaign and the grisly reality of battle could overwhelm individual and group and lead to conspicuous lapses in valor.” [71] How, then, does Pericles’ rhetoric negotiate dissonance between, on the one hand, the instinct to self-preservation, on the other, the ideal of self-sacrifice?
To answer that question, we need to explore external factors complementing the internal dynamic described by Wohl—how, in other words, the image-ideal supplied by the fallen exerts a kind of peer pressure. For it kindles desire to join an elite company of warriors for whom the folly of self-immolation makes an exhilarating sort of sense. How does folly make sense? Through the reframing of paradox, and in a way already seen in Isocrates. Here, as there, genre counts—genre not as a literary construct, but Bakhtin’s notion of speech genre, how a particular way of speaking or writing can seem to fit certain occasions, settings, or discourse-communities, but not others. [72] Just so here, the ambiance not of an assembly meeting but of the public funeral will prevail. Pericles, in urging listeners to become lovers, asks them to go beyond the calculation (logos) of advantage (ôphelia, 2.43.1). In effect, he asks them to transcend assembly-style deliberation, the weighing of alternatives with a view to their “expediency or harm” (Aristotle Rhetoric 1358b21–22 on political oratory). But will reason cease to play a role? Surely not. Pericles’ listeners must still think: about the city’s greatness; about the deeds of past benefactors, whose good judgment (gignôskontes ta deonta) offers listeners a shining example; about prosperity as contingent on freedom, and freedom as contingent on courage (2.43.1, 4).
But this higher logos, the logos of erôs, also demands that listeners transcend the logic of day-to-day. Erôs, we recall, is highly problematic, the epitome of irrationality. And so it remains here—by conventional standards. But those standards “we” as lovers (erastai) have left behind. Thus Pericles, by introducing erôs into the city’s discourse, induces a kind of stasis. He transforms the dêmos; he lifts it up and out from its deliberative function and brings it into contact with another speech-community, the honored dead, whose implicitly erôs-driven logic of self-sacrifice will make eminent good sense to city-lovers among the living. Let me emphasize the social dynamic at work, how Pericles’ rhetoric subtly pressures listeners to heed but one rationale, one logos: that of those other lovers, for whom death in battle represented no “mishap” but a golden opportunity.
So much, then, for the resonances of erastas autês as evocation of a unifying polis-love, a centripetal discourse of social coercion. [73] What about dunamis-love? If, as I suggest, we need as well to recognize that resonance, what will it have entailed? Thucydides himself provides the kind of parallel that can help. In Thucydides’ narrative of the Sicilian debate, the historian, diagnosing the mood of Athenians galvanized by the prospect of conquest, states that “an erôs to sail fell upon all alike.” So saying, he then dissects that erôs to show how different groups responded differently: the old were reassured by the scale of the mission; the young, expecting to come through safe and sound, were excited by longing for the exotic; the rank-and-file, eager for the short-term windfall the invasion seemed to offer, thought they could look forward to long-term pay stemming from an expansion of the city’s power (6.24.3). My point: that in and of itself, a plea to feel dunamis-erôs must reach listeners at an individual, self-interested, even materialistic level.
Scholars who worry about that resonance have reason to. Dunamis-lust (dunameôs epithumêsai), specifically, desire for mastery of the sea, seduced the Spartans to their regret, according to Isocrates. For it destroyed their land-based hegemony (5.60) and corrupted them the way prostitutes ruin their lovers (8.103). Nor should we forget how Thucydides’ “erôs to sail” offers an object-lesson in reckless deliberation (6.13.1, 6.24.3). But that same erôs also offers an object lesson in motivation: how calculation alone will not suffice to free us from our fears and inhibitions; how erôs does not really fall on all alike, but affects each of us differently and at an individual level. That side to erôs, the self-assertive side, thus provides the “hook” for Pericles’ rhetoric. Through it, the speaker seizes hold of his listeners’ imaginations and offers each of them a sense of tangible rewards: the city’s power and the attendant perks. Admittedly, that will not sit well with Pericles’ efforts to maneuver Athenians away from a selfish, risk-benefit calculus. [74] But the city’s attractions here do not operate on a purely abstract or spiritual plane. Considering that it will take an eyeful of the city’s dunamis to spark a citizen’s erôs, we must keep in mind that Pericles refers to the concrete and very visible manifestations of the city’s power and prosperity. [75] I am referring, of course, to the public-works program from which the dêmos derived pay, prestige, and aesthetic pleasure, a program prompting Pericles’ critics to compare Athens to a dolled-up woman. [76]
Dunamis becomes, then, the beauty that draws the lover’s eye, the goods lovers seek to possess and enjoy. As for connections between this more narrowly selfish erôs and the erôs of self-sacrifice, one last parallel will help. In Xenophon’s Anabasis, we read how a certain Episthenes, panicked lest a Thracian ruler execute a handsome boy, extended his neck and offered to die in the boy’s place. “‘Strike,’ he said, ‘if the boy so bids and will feel grateful for it.’” When the boy begged that the two of them be spared, Episthenes, putting his arm around him, challenged, apparently in jest, the Thracian to fight for the lad (Anabasis 7.4.7–11). Though Episthenes in Xenophon’s narrative offers his life for the boy’s, that gesture is still deeply self-interested. He is, so we are told, a paiderastês, a lover of boys, and it is his tropos, his “inclination,” that explains his behavior. Erôs-driven, this tropos is to be understood as less than fully rational, yet militarily valuable: Episthenes once assembled a crack regiment based on physical beauty alone. Yet even if Episthenes were to have been killed, in his fantasy, he still would have got what he wanted: the boy’s thanks, which in pederastic terms translate as sexual gratification. [77] Just so, the citizen-warrior, in his fantasy of reciprocity, will receive the “tangible” rewards of heroism: a noble burial, an orator’s praises, the gratitude of all. And it is this gratitude that the city-lover desires more than anything else, the bliss of knowing that, by having saved the city, he holds it in his debt forever. [78]
Erotic passion as the higher reason, self-sacrifice as self-gratification—Thucydides neglects to tell us what effect this logos of erôs produced in mourners. Nor does he reflect on its implications for the future course of the war—not explicitly, at least. But he might less obviously. Thus for some readers, the plague narration, following, as it does, directly on the heels of Pericles’ speech, casts a shadow over the idealism that seems to radiate from the orator’s every word. [79] On the other hand, speech and plague occurred in just that order and within a matter of months; perhaps there is no more to it than that. But whatever the significance of that juxtaposition, Thucydides provides us with a kind of “control group” when, in the course of narrating the Sicilian Debate, he revisits the logos of erôs in the context of assembly speeches whose dissonant resonances arrest the mind the same way that the conflicting, disorienting stimuli of erôs overwhelm both mind and body. Did, then, our funeral orator set his city on a dangerous path by infusing erôs into the city’s discourse? Whether he did or not, Thucydides paints the portrait of a statesman uniquely equipped to steer the dêmos through stormy mood-swings and passionate longings, an example his successors would have done well to follow had they but the will to try and the know-how to pull it off.


[ back ] 1. Thucydides 2.34.8. For the custom of the annual public funeral for the war dead, and the funeral oration (epitaphios logos) that went along with it, Rusten 1989:135–136; Loraux 1986; Ziolkowski 1981.
[ back ] 2. Exceptions: p. 16 above.
[ back ] 3. P. 9n37 above.
[ back ] 4. For the role of the gaze in kindling erôs, Calame 1999:20–21.
[ back ] 5. I acknowledge that few ancient texts or none will mirror verbatim an orally delivered speech. I do, though, recognize a category of speech-texts purporting to record “real” speeches (e.g. Lysias 1, 3 etc.) or to model same (Antiphon Tetralogies). These, I assume, negotiate, or try to, the challenges of real-world speaking. I do not mean to gloss over problems raised by privileging a subset of the evidence this way. But our texts cannot be well served if treated uniformly as de-historicized fictions. I further acknowledge the problem posed by speeches in Thucydides. Are they “realistic”? Are they dramatizations conditioned by thematic or intellectual preoccupations? I am not sure the two conflict. Linguistically difficult, they nevertheless explore the production and reception of speeches in relation to occasion, situation, setting (cf. Thucydides 1.21.1). See further Garrity 1998; Badian 1992; Rusten 1989:7–17; Kagan 1975; Stadter 1973.
[ back ] 6. E.g. Lysias 3, 4; Aeschines 1; Demosthenes 21.38; 47.19; 59.
[ back ] 7. Thucydides 3.45.5; 6.13.1; Gorgias fr. 11a15 D K. Pathological erôs in Hippocratic writers: p. 10n39 above. Thucydides and the medical-psychological dimension: Rechenauer 1991:351–361. A later fifth-century vogue for arguments from human nature, psychology: Dover 1968:74–76.
[ back ] 8. For that view, p. 45 below.
[ back ] 9. Chapter 3 below.
[ back ] 10. So Ludwig 2002:151; see generally 141–153.
[ back ] 11. Revenge-lust as epithumia: Antiphon First Tetralogy 1.7 (probably 430s BCE). Patriotism, partisanship, ambition, disreputable proclivities as epithumia: Antiphon fr. 1.1a; Lysias 20.3–4; 25.8; Isocrates 16.14, 37, 41–42; 18.29, 48; 20.1; 21.8, 10, 16; Aeschines 3.249. Greed as epithumia in Aeschines 3.218, eran in Euripides Suppliants 239. Philathenian epithumein and spoudazein in Demosthenes 23.126, erôs (erastês, eran) in Aristophanes Acharnians 142–146.
[ back ] 12. Apart from speeches ghost-written for use in the courts (orations 16–21), Isocrates wrote pamphlets and other works. Some of these pose as judicial or political rhetoric (Antidosis, On the Peace, Areopagiticus), though directed to a reading public. For his use of erôs-vocabulary in those speeches, see further below.
[ back ] 13. I.e. features of style, intonation, etc. organized around particular contexts, communities, occasions: Bakhtin 1986:60–102.
[ back ] 14. Isocrates 4.11. O’Sullivan 1992:56n189 points out in Demosthenes 61.2 a similar contrast between persuasion-speeches written for oral delivery and “showy” (epideiktikous) speeches composed for posterity.
[ back ] 15. Dionysius Isocrates 2 prefers to view Isocratean oratory in terms of ceremonial epideictic rather than judicial or courtroom oratory. According to Michelini, “Isocrates imperialistically attempts to occupy all generic positions at once” (1998a:126 citing Too 1995:7, 13–21). Note that an Isocratean pamphlet, though meant to be read, is a performance also meant to impress its (reading) audience.
[ back ] 16. Aristotle divides rhetoric into judicial, political, and epideictic, or epideiktikon, from epideiknusthai, “to show.” The topics proper to epideictic are praise and blame; its hearers are to be regarded as spectators (theatai) of an orator’s skill (Rhetoric 1358a36–b8). Schiappa 1999:185–206 rightly points out that “epideictic” as a technical term and developed concept seems not to precede Aristotle. In retaining “epideictic” as catch-all for various sorts of non-judicial, non-political oratory, I merely highlight the often “showy” character of such oratory; I do not suggest that earlier practice was conditioned by later theory. I do, however, rely on Aristotle for insights into earlier practice.
[ back ] 17. Aristotle wsxc 1415a10–11. At 1414b21–26, Aristotle compares the virtuoso flourishes in the typical flute-prelude to the epideictic orator’s opening ad libitum. For “dithyrambic” extravagance in oratory, cf. Plato Phaedrus 238d; Dionysius Lysias 3 citing Timaeus on Gorgias.
[ back ] 18. For Funeral oratory as epideictic, cf. Aristotle Rhetoric 1415b30–32. The Periclean Funeral Oration as epideictic, Wohl 2002:38–39.
[ back ] 19. See Alexiou 1974:14–23 for polis regulation of funerals. Alexiou remarks that “these exaggerated displays…must have excited a state of frenzy.” Funeral regulations could have been instituted to restrict vendetta killings in response to mourners’ calls to avenge murder victims.
[ back ] 20. The carnivalesque banquet as a celebration of “life, death, struggle, triumph, and regeneration” (Bakhtin 1984b:282) resonates with Pericles’ praise of the richness of Athenian life, a richness vouchsafed by the heroism of the fallen, in the Funeral Oration.
[ back ] 21. Frangeskou 1999:328 points out the stylistic features (repeated ô, balanced phrases, assonance, exaggeration, etc.) in key passages of Lysias’ Funeral Oration aimed at inducing something resembling the ecstasy that affects Socrates in the Menexenus (235a–c). Cf. the preserved specimen of Gorgianic funeral oratory, fr. 5 D-K.
[ back ] 22. Aristotle Rhetoric 1365a31–33, 1411a2–4; cf. Plutarch Pericles 8.9 = Stesimbrotus FGrH 107 F 9 (war dead like divine immortals); see Stadter 1989:110.
[ back ] 23. Stadter 1989:110.
[ back ] 24. Cf. Cleon’s “spectators of words and listeners to deeds” (Thucydides 3.38.4) and “spectators of sophists rather than deliberators of policy” (3.38.7). To that kind of listening corresponds the epideixis of bribed speakers, 3.42.3 (Diodotus mocking Cleon’s line of attack).
[ back ] 25. See Loraux 1986:263–338.
[ back ] 26. Thucydides 2.38, 2.40.1. Here my emphasis will differ from McGlew 2002:32–34. McGlew describes Pericles’ privileging of duty over pleasure as a “Spartan-like project” (41). I would agree that Pericles undertakes to please a variety of constituencies, even “conservatives,” but he also engages in explicitly counter-Spartan eulogy of Athens’ charms.
[ back ] 27. Wohl 2002:36–37, 49–51; cf. Kallet 2003:131–137; McGlew 2002:30–42.
[ back ] 28. Demosthenes 21.38; 54.14, 20; Lysias 3.4; Anaximenes Rhetorica ad Alexandrum 7.14; Simonides 541 PMG.
[ back ] 29. Among the epideictic features of Aeschines 1.136–159: citation of mythological and historical exempla (Achilles and Patroclus, Harmodius and Aristogeiton), the alleged inadequacy of praise rhetoric (tois enkômiois) to the task at hand. Cf. the similarly epideictic detour in Lycurgus 46–51, a mini-funeral oration.
[ back ] 30. Aeschylus Agamemnon 689–690, trans. Smyth; Homer Iliad 6.344; Euripides Orestes 741, 743; Electra 213–214.
[ back ] 31. Euripides Iphigeneia at Aulis 808–809; Thucydides 6.24.3. Euripides borrows deinos erôs from Aeschylus Eumenides 865, where a “fierce lust for renown” threatens stasis if given free reign at home. In Euripides, it suggests the stasiastic restlessness of idle Greeks.
[ back ] 32. See Balot 2001.
[ back ] 33. Regulations, ideologies stipulating proposals only for the good of the city; risks of public rhetoric; conflict of interests, corruption: Monoson 2000:59–60; Christ 1992; Ober 1989:170–174; Harvey 1985; chapter three below.
[ back ] 34. See p. 8n31 above.
[ back ] 35. Reframing: Neuman and Tabak 2003; Billig 1996:253–286.
[ back ] 36. See Rusten 1989:116–117, 120–121.
[ back ] 37. Crane 1992 on that mentality; cf. Hanson 1995:331 (agrarian hoplites willing to die “for a few acres on their own border”), 338–343.
[ back ] 38. Sicking 1995. Subsistence farmers were at the time the majority: Crane 1992:252.
[ back ] 39. Spence 1990 for the stiff resistance offered by the hippeis to the invading Peloponnesians.
[ back ] 40. Kallet 1998 for the ideological connection between poorer Athenians and the empire; Jordan 1975 for the makeup of the trireme crews.
[ back ] 41. Sicking 1995, 412 and n35, commenting on Thucydides 2.22.1. Hamel 1998:8–12 suggests that the moratorium on ekklêsiai during the first invasion of Attica should be viewed not as active interdiction but as weathering the storm.
[ back ] 42. Ober 1998:84.
[ back ] 43. Ober 1998:86–87.
[ back ] 44. Quote, McGlew 2002:33; see 25–42.
[ back ] 45. Wohl 2002:37.
[ back ] 46. Addressivity: p. 85 below.
[ back ] 47. Bakhtin 1990:43.
[ back ] 48. For the applicability of this principle to rhetoric, Billig 1996:224–227, 264–265.
[ back ] 49. Under democratic ideology, the kratos/kratein of the dêmos represented legitimate sovereignty: Ober 1994:108. For the Herald, it is mob rule.
[ back ] 50. For which, Parry 1981:15.
[ back ] 51. Thêtes (the lowest economic class) may have had access to all paid archonships by the late fifth century; see generally Ober 1989:79–80.
[ back ] 52. Pseudo-Xenophon 1.3. The generals and their role: Hamel 1998. The generally elite character of the leadership class: Ober 1989.
[ back ] 53. Cf. Adam Parry’s paraphrase, 1981:162: “Our state is called a democracy…, but its reality is a political equality where rank is based on merit.”
[ back ] 54. “By lot” or “by turns”: LSJ s.v. μέρος II.2; Rusten 1989:145–146; Gomme et al. 1970–1981:vol. 2 p. 8; Flashar 1969:18. Wealth or social qualification: Sicking 1995:414 and n42; Harris 1992:164.
[ back ] 55. 1989:153; Rusten 1985:18.
[ back ] 56. For a summary of Athens finances, Kallet 2003:127.
[ back ] 57. The building program as democratically marked: Kallet 2003:128–131. Oligarchic-aristocratic response: Plutarch Pericles 12.1–2; Kallet 2003:131–136 (on this passage); Stadter 1989:130–187; Andrewes 1978; Wade-Gery 1958. Aristocratic appeasement in the Periclean Funeral Oration: McGlew 2002:39 citing Roberts 1994:43.
[ back ] 58. Ober 1998:84–86; also Wohl 2002:38–39.
[ back ] 59. Pindar Pythian 1.81–84; Aeschines 1.140 (in an epideictic vein); Rusten 1989:138–139.
[ back ] 60. Cf. Forde 1989:31: philopoli (“love of city”) of the ordinary kind here needs the added boost of erotic peithô. For the logos-pathos antithesis in Thucydides, Immerwahr 1973:19.
[ back ] 61. Hornblower 1991–:vol. 1 p. 311. Cf. Hussey 1985:125 (“something is rotten here”); Immerwahr 1973 (pathological surrender to the forces of unreason).
[ back ] 62. McGlew 2002:41–42. Kallet 2003:131–137 argues that the Periclean Funeral Oration contests the notion of a tyrant dêmos.
[ back ] 63. Monoson 2000:73: “Citizens become lovers of a specific object, the city of Athens, after having perceived that it possesses an exceptionally alluring quality, power.”
[ back ] 64. Stressing benevolent reciprocity, she notes the danger that such a relationship could deteriorate into exploitation: Monoson 2000:64–87.
[ back ] 65. Monoson 2000:84.
[ back ] 66. Weiss 1998:46.
[ back ] 67. Eranos as charitable contribution, club dues, for-profit investment: Rusten 1989:169. Eranos as civic entitlement (“dues” paid to the city): Aristophanes Lysistrata 648–651; Hornblower 1991–:311–312 on the parallel with Thucydides 2.43.1.
[ back ] 68. Wohl 2002:57.
[ back ] 69. Pathological death-wish as erôs: p. 10n9 above.
[ back ] 70. Wohl 2002:58–59.
[ back ] 71. Quoting Christ 2006:90; see generally 88–142.
[ back ] 72. Bakhtin, 1986:60–102.
[ back ] 73. Cf. appeals to honor/shame, Thucydides 2.43.4–6.
[ back ] 74. Among the fallen, poor and rich alike ignored material considerations, Thucydides 2.42.4. See McGlew 2002:32–34.
[ back ] 75. To eudaimon, Thucydides 2.43.4. Monuments as tokens of dunamis: Ober 1998:84–85.
[ back ] 76. Plutarch Pericles 12.2.
[ back ] 77. For the passage, Dover 1989:51.
[ back ] 78. Cf. McGlew 1993:188: “Erastês—the word Thucydides’ Pericles uses for lover—hints at a relationship that is not only intimate but active and passionate. The erastês is devoted to his beloved, but is also possessive, domineering, and prone to jealousy. He cares for his lover and is personally interested in her welfare, but he demands exclusive attention.”
[ back ] 79. Cornford’s highly influential 1907 reading.