In the same winter the Athenians gave a
funeral at the public cost to those who had first fallen in this war. It was a custom of their ancestors, and the manner of it is as follows.
Three days before the ceremony, the bones of the dead are laid out in a
tent which has been erected; and their friends bring to their relatives such offerings as they please.
In the funeral procession cypress coffins are borne in cars, one for each
tribe; the bones of the deceased being placed in the coffin of their tribe.Among these is carried one empty bier decked for the missing, that is, for
those whose bodies could not be recovered.
Any citizen or stranger who pleases, joins in the procession: and the
female relatives are there to wail at the burial.
The dead are laid in the public sepulchre in the most beautiful suburb of
the city, in which those who fall in war are always buried; with the exception of those slain at Marathon,who for their singular and
extraordinary valor were interred on the spot where they fell.
After the bodies have been laid in the earth, a man chosen by the state, of
approved wisdom and eminent reputation, pronounces over them an appropriate
panegyric; after which all retire.
Such is the manner of the burying; and throughout the whole of the war, whenever the occasion arose, the
established custom was observed.
Meanwhile these were the first that had fallen, and Pericles, son of
Xanthippus, was chosen to pronounce their eulogium.When the proper time arrived, he advanced from the sepulchre to an elevated
platform in order to be heard by as many of the crowd as possible, and spoke
Thucydides. The Peloponnesian War. London, J. M. Dent; New York, E. P. Dutton. 1910.
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