What is democracy? 

Pericles’ funeral oration: What is democracy? 

Reread Pericles’ funeral oration in Thucydides 2.35-46, and answer the following question: What specific cultural values, lifestyle choices, and forms of social and political organization and functioning does Pericles consider an integral part of a democracy? In your answer to the question above, be sure to address the following questions (not necessarily in the same order) and support your answer with the evidence from the text:

  1. (1)  If modern criteria of evaluation were applied to Pericles’ view of democracy, would ancient Athens still be considered a democratic state?
  2. (2)  Are there gaps and/or flaws in Pericles’ characterization of democracy?
  3. (3)  Do the main principles of democracy outlined by Pericles correspond to the modern (or your own)
    understanding of equality and justice?
  4. (4)  In what specific ways, according to Pericles, is Athenian democracy able to favor both individual rights
    and the interests of the community?

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