The Funeral Oration and Nicole Loraux : An International Study Day organized by David Pritchard

On The February 19, 2020

09h30 to 18h00 - Collegium de Lyon, 26 Place Bellecour - Lyon


Stavroula Kefallonitis (Saint-Étienne)
David M. Pritchard (Lyon/Queensland)

Across Europe, students often read the famous funeral oration attributed to Pericles at school or university. In democratic Athens, this annual speech was delivered in honour of the war dead. For the classical Athenians this speech was vitally important because it told them who they were as a democratic people and why their sons had perished in war.

Watch the vidéos on the SHS Portal

In 1981, Nicole Loraux published a book that transformed our understanding of this oration. Before her, historians of Athenian democracy considered the funeral oration to be of little importance. Loraux put beyond doubt the central role that this speech played in the Athenian self-identity. Her book, The Invention of Athens, demonstrated how each funeral oration helped the Athenians to maintain the same self-identity over two hundred years.

In spite of this huge impact, her The Invention of Athens was far from complete. It did not compare the funeral oration to the other genres of literature that Athenian democracy produced. Her book did not elaborate on the historical context of each of the five surviving funeral speeches.

This study day aims to complete The Invention of Athens. It focusses on the famous funeral speeches by Pericles and Gorgias. It explores the relationship between this genre and tragedy as well as the overall place of Nicole Loraux in the French historiography of ancient Greece. This study day follows on from the Strasbourg conference that took place in 2018.

  • The program of the study day in Lyon and the poster are available in the box "Documents to download".



The study day is co-sponsorded by the laboratoire HiSoMA (Histoire et Sources des Mondes Antiques), l’Institut d’études avancées de l’Université de Strasbourg and the Collegium de Lyon, which is the Institute for Advanced Studies of the University of Lyon.


  • The 3 keynote speakers are Bernd Steinbock (Western University, Canada), Dominique Lenfant (Université de Strasbourg) and Johannes Wienand (Technische Universität Braunschweig).
  • The other 4 speakers are Pascale Brillet-Dubois (Université Lumière Lyon 2), François Lissarrague (École des hautes études en sciences sociales), Christophe Pébarthe (Université Bordeaux Montaigne) and David M. Pritchard (Collegium de Lyon/The University of Queensland).
  • The 4 session-chairs are Richard Bouchon (Université Lumière Lyon 2), Christopher Cusset (École normale supérieure de Lyon), Madalina Dana (Université Jean Moulin Lyon 3) and Stavroula Kefallonitis (Université Jean Monnet Saint-Étienne).
  • The 4 respondents are doctoral students. They are Pierre Balmond (Université Paris-Est Créteil), Halima Benchikh-Lehocine (École normale supérieure de Lyon), Antoine Chabod (Université Paris-Est Marne-La-Vallée) and Marie Durnerin (École normale supérieure de Lyon/Ecole des hautes études en sciences sociales).



The study day is taking place at le Collegium de Lyon at 26 Place Bellecour. Place Bellecour is at the heart of the city-centre of Lyon. The study day begins at 9.30 am and finishes at 6 pm on Wednesday 19 February 2020. There is no charge for this fully catered event but places are strictly limited. There will be a lunch as well a morning and an afternoon tea.

Those who wish to register for The Funeral Oration and Nicole Loraux should send an email as soon as possible to David M. Pritchard. All those participating in the day are warmly invited to a fully catered reception on the night before. This reception will take place at le Collegium de Lyon and will begin at 8 pm on Tuesday 18 February 2020.

Credits: British soldiers visiting the Erechtheum on the Athenian Acropolis in October 1944. London, Imperial War Museum, neg. no. 2512. Photographer: A. R. Tanner.

92 rue Pasteur
69007 Lyon