Ancient History’s Greatest Speeches

Published May 11, 2012
Updated January 18, 2018

Golden Speech, Queen Elizabeth 1

Queen Elizabeth Ancient History's Greatest Speeches

Queen Elizabeth 1 delivered the Golden Speech on November 30, 1601 as her retirement speech. The 141-member parliament to whom she delivered it assumed the speech would address some of the economic issues facing the country, however the outcome was slightly different.

Many consider Queen Elizabeth’s reign to be the Golden Age of England where culture, art, architecture and literature flourished, and she led successful war campaigns. Some regard the Golden Speech as a symbolic end of that glorious reign.


One liner:

“For it is my desire to live nor reign no longer than my life and reign shall be for your good. And though you have had, and may have, many princes more mighty and wise sitting in this seat, yet you never had nor shall have, any that will be more careful and loving.”

Funeral Oration, Pericles

Pericles Speech

Much like Lincoln’s famous Gettysburg Address, this speech by the Athenian leader, Pericles, redefined oration and inspired the Athenian people. Pericles delivered the speech in 431 BC at an epoch when there were Sparta and Athens engaged in great wars. The speech cleverly honored the fallen soldiers while simultaneously galvanizing the living citizens into more action to ensure their death was not in vain.


One liner:

“When all her greatness shall break upon you, you must reflect that it was by courage, sense of duty, and a keen feeling of honor in action that men were enabled to win all this, and that no personal failure in an enterprise could make them consent to deprive their country of their valor, but they laid it at her feet as the most glorious contribution that they could offer.”

Mamta Bhatt
Savannah Cox
Savannah Cox holds a Master's in International Affairs from The New School as well as a PhD from the University of California, Berkeley, and now serves as an Assistant Professor at the University of Sheffield. Her work as a writer has also appeared on DNAinfo.
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Bhatt, Mamta. "Ancient History’s Greatest Speeches.", May 11, 2012, Accessed June 15, 2024.