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After1 the State decreed that those who repose in this tomb, having acquitted themselves as brave men in the war, should have a public funeral, and appointed me to the duty of delivering over them the customary speech, I began straightway to study how they might receive their due tribute of praise; but as I studied and searched my mind the conclusion forced itself upon me that to speak as these dead deserve was one of those things that cannot be done. For, since they scorned the love of life that is inborn in all men and chose rather to die nobly than to live and look upon Greece in misfortune, how can they have failed to leave behind them a record of valor surpassing all power of words to express? Nevertheless I propose to treat the theme in the same vein as those who have previously spoken in this place from time to time.

1 In this genre ἄνδρες Ἀθηναῖοιis unusable because aliens and women were present; there was no salutation for mixed audiences.

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