Herodotus’ account of the advice given to Xerxes & Pericles on Athens in his funeral oration speech.

The Greek Historian Herodotus recorded an account of the Persian emperor Xerxes and how he came to invade Greece in the Persian wars. Herodotus tried to understand other cultures and their ways and not just the ways of the Greeks. He even tried to understand the Persians, who were enemies of the Greeks at the time.

Darius I, the father of Xerxes, was defeated by the Greeks in battle. Darius wanted to have revenge on the Greeks, but ended up dying during an Egyptian revolt. Xerxes took over, and wanted to focus on Egypt, but his cousin Mardonius, some Thessalian kings, and others want him to take revenge on the Greeks, and in particular the Athenians. Xerxes agrees initially, but then decides not to due to the advice of his uncle Artabanus. Xerxes believes that a dream he has says he will win, and decides to invade, and eventually his uncle agrees with the war party. Xerxes goes to Greece, but eventually is defeated by the Athenians at the naval battle of Salamis and the land battle of Plataea.

One of the more famous speeches of Pericles, a Greek military leader, was his funeral oration, given to honor the dead soldiers who died in battle. This speech may not have been what actually took place, but was inserted into the work of the historian Thucydides. In the speech, he spoke of the glory of Athens, and how the democracy of Athens gave people freedom. He spoke of all the entertainment that was provided for the people like the games and the sacrifices put on by the state. He also spoke of the things the ships of Athens brought from other countries for the people as well.

Pericles also spoke of the military might of Athens and that Sparta, its main rival, did not attack Athens by itself, but with many of its allies. In contrast, Athens attacked other countries on its own, without allies. He said that the dead soldiers had honor because they gave their lives for Athens and that they had had attained great renown as a result.


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