Credit is due under the terms of this license that can reference both the New World Encyclopedia contributors and the selfless volunteer contributors of the Wikimedia Foundation. It includes an excerpt from the primary sources Pericles Funeral Oration and the Melian Debate to investigate the true nature of Athens during its Golden Age. During the Age of Pericles, Athens blossomed as a center of education, art, culture, & democracy. Likely composed and first performed in the years 1606-08, Pericles is a tale of loss and reconciliation between father and daughter, based upon the classical legend of Pericles of Tyre.  Nonetheless, other analysts maintain an Athenian humanism illustrated in the Golden Age. This was because he did not have to adapt what he said in order to please his hearers, in an attempt to gain power by improper means, but his standing allowed him even to speak against them and provoke their anger. Athens Acropolisby Mark Cartwright (CC BY-NC-SA). ", Thucydides argues that Pericles "was not carried away by the people, but he was the one guiding the people". ", Art, Music, Literature, Sports and leisure, Online Encyclopedia Britannica 11th Edition, https://www.newworldencyclopedia.org/p/index.php?title=Pericles&oldid=1017949, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License, "Our polity does not copy the laws of neighboring states; we are rather a pattern to others than imitators ourselves. Agariste was the great-granddaughter of the tyrant o…  This is considered to be a monumental oration, revealing Pericles' virtues but also his bitterness towards his compatriots' ingratitude. , His family's nobility and wealth allowed him to fully pursue his inclination toward education. Pericles - son of Xanthippus; Athenian politician, 5th century B.C.  The promotion of such an arrogant imperialism is said to have ruined Athens. It is the version translated by Gower that Shakespeare used as his primary source for Pericles. On each line there is a link to the page where the name can be found.  According to Plutarch, Pericles was so afraid of the oncoming trial that he did not let the Athenians yield to the Lacedaemonians. He was able to improve Athens' finances, which were running dangerously low.  The final steps in the shift to empire may have been triggered by Athens' defeat in Egypt, which challenged the city's dominance in the Aegean and led to the revolt of several allies, such as Miletus and Erythrae. Pericles (l. 495–429 BCE) was a prominent Greek statesman, orator, and general during the Golden Age of Athens.  According to Quintilian, Pericles would always prepare assiduously for his orations and, before going on the rostrum, he would always pray to the gods, so as not to utter any improper word. Plutarch relates more than the other ancient authors, but he seems almost wholly dependent on Athenian comedy and stories from the Socratic circle for his information, all of which is difficult to verify. he attacked Sicyon and Acarnania. Shortly afterwards in the same year, Ephialtes was assassinated; these two events mark the beginning of Pericles’ rise to power. 17 Jan 2021.  In matters of character, Pericles was above reproach in the eyes of the ancient historians, since "he kept himself untainted by corruption, although he was not altogether indifferent to money-making". Ancient History Encyclopedia Limited is a non-profit company registered in the United Kingdom. In 440 B.C.E. Greek Primary Sources Biblical Worldview Questions Name: _____ 2 5. to find out. The Delian League, a confederation of the city-states, was formed in 478 BCE to provide defense against further Persian aggression and Cimon was instrumental in persuading various city-states to join. The residents of Istiaia, meanwhile, who had butchered the crew of an Athenian trireme, were uprooted and replaced by 2000 Athenian settlers.  Pericles is lauded as "the ideal type of the perfect statesman in ancient Greece" and his Funeral Oration is nowadays synonymous with the struggle for participatory democracy and civic pride. Cimon, son of Miltiades (the hero of Marathon, l. c. 555 - 489 BCE), was acquitted but this may have been due more to his political connections and influence than any failing on Pericles’ part to prosecute the case. Aspasia’s talent as a writer, and close association with Pericles, encouraged his enemies to claim she was the author of his greatest speeches but it seems clear he had a gift for oratory from a young age, long before he met her, as evidenced in speeches such as the one which exiled Cimon. During the Peloponnesian War, Pericles' dependence on popular support to govern was obvious.  According to King, by increasing the power of the people, the Athenians left themselves with no authoritative leader. He was certain that democracy had reached its peak and Pericles’ reforms were leading to the stalemate of populism. , In the mid-450s the Athenians launched an unsuccessful attempt to aid an Egyptian revolt against Persia, which led to a prolonged siege of a Persian fortress in the Nile River Delta. (II.  His stance was greeted with applause, and Thucydides suffered an unexpected defeat. 64-65). The Oxford History of the Classical World: Greece and the Hellenistic... Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike. Samons, Loren J. According to Paparrigopoulos, history vindicated Cimon, because Athens, after Pericles' death, sank into the abyss of political turmoil and demagogy. , The causes of the Peloponnesian War have been much debated, but most ancient historians laid the blame on Pericles and Athens. The process by which the Delian League transformed into an Athenian empire is generally considered to have begun well before Pericles' time, as various allies in the league chose to pay tribute to Athens instead of manning ships for the league's fleet, but the transformation was speeded and brought to its conclusion by measures implemented by Pericles. c.490 BCE from Thucydides, The Peloponnesian War. The period during which he led Athens, roughly from 461 to 429 B.C.E., is sometimes known as the "Age of Pericles," though the period thus denoted can include times as early as the Greco-Persian Wars, or as late as the next century. " Consequently, Pericles asked the Spartans to offer a quid pro quo.  In 446 B.C.E., a more dangerous uprising erupted. The period of Greek history in which he lived and reigned is rightly known as the Age of Pericles because his initiatives allowed that era to flourish. He brings Athens's political atmosphere to life with archaeological evidence and the accounts of those close to Pericles, including Thucydides, Aristophanes, Herodotus, … Charles W. Fornara and Loren J. Samons, II. (117). Pericles promoted the arts and literature; this was a chief reason Athens holds the reputation as the educational and cultural centre of the ancient Greek world.  In that year, however, Pericles witnessed the death of both his legitimate sons from his first wife, Xanthippus and his beloved Paralus, in the epidemic.  By 450–449 B.C.E. He remained in power almost uninterruptedly until his death in 429 B.C.E.  Beloch also believes that Pericles deliberately brought on the war to protect his political position at home. Pericles (also spelled Perikles) (ca. the oligarchs of Thebes conspired against the democratic faction. Wade-Grey, H. T., "The Question of Tribute in 449/8 B. C.". Subjects: Ancient History, World History, Close Reading. Although these alliances – as well as the helot revolt and the Spartan insult to Athens - are commonly cited as the source of the conflict, Edith Hamilton expands on these claims: The real cause of the war was not this or that trivial disturbance, the revolt of a distant colony, the breaking of an unimportant treaty, or the like. " It is generally held that those succeeding him lacked his abilities and character.. The Athenians demanded their immediate surrender, but, after the Battle of Coronea, Pericles was forced to concede the loss of Boeotia in order to recover the prisoners taken in that battle. "National Ideology and Strategic Defense of the Population, from Athens to Star Wars". Whatever the reason was, in 461 BCE Pericles again charged Cimon with corruption – this time by claiming he was aiding Spartan interests – and succeeded in having his rival ostracized from the city for ten years. He brings Athens's political atmosphere to life with archaeological evidence and the accounts of those close to Pericles, including Thucydides, Aristophanes, Herodotus, … ", Libourel, Jan M., "The Athenian Disaster in Egypt.". Pericles: Last Speech (Thucydides Book II, 59-64) After the second invasion of the Peloponnesians there had been a change in the spirit of the Athenians. Pericles had such a profound influence on Athenian society that Thucydides, his contemporary historian, acclaimed him as "the first citizen of Athens." During the war with Persia she had been able to do that…As head of the league, too, for a time she had not let her power corrupt her. The Ancient History Encyclopedia logo is a registered EU trademark. At the beginning of 431 BCE Athens entered into the Second Peloponnesian War with Sparta which would end in Athens’ defeat; but Pericles would not live to see the fall of his city. It was a grave insult to a man of Athens, especially a statesman, to claim a woman was responsible for his successful career and Pericles’ political enemies would focus on this charge repeatedly. Phidias, who had been in charge of all building projects, was first accused of embezzling gold intended for the statue of Athena, and then of impiety, because, when he wrought the battle of the Amazons on the shield of Athena, he carved out a figure that suggested himself as a bald old man, and also inserted a very fine likeness of Pericles fighting with an Amazon.  In Menexenus, however, Socrates casts aspersions on Pericles' rhetorical fame, claiming ironically that, since Pericles was educated by Aspasia, a trainer of many orators, he would be superior in rhetoric to someone educated by Antiphon. 6. Mark, Joshua J. Kagan states that Pericles adopted "an elevated mode of speech, free from the vulgar and knavish tricks of mob-orators" and, according to Diodorus Siculus, he "excelled all his fellow citizens in skill of oratory. For only $5 per month you can become a member and support our mission to engage people with cultural heritage and to improve history education worldwide. Sparta feared that Athens’ growing power was a threat but could not hope to defeat the Athenian navy which had only become larger and more effective since the victory at Salamis in 480 BCE. A gentleman of Tyre; my name, Pericles; My education been in arts and arms; Who, looking for adventures in the world, Was by the rough seas reft of ships … This marriage, however, was not a happy one, and at some point near 445 B.C.E., Pericles divorced his wife and offered her to another husband, with the agreement of her male relatives. During the same period, Pericles proposed the Megarian Decree, which resembled a modern trade embargo. The fourth phase of the Delian League encompasses the first part... What did democracy really mean in Athens? The Age of Pericles, however, could not last any more than any other in history. Kagan believes that Cimon adapted himself to the new conditions and promoted a political marriage between Periclean liberals and Cimonian conservatives.  If this was so, Pericles must have taken up a position of leadership by the early 460s B.C.E. According to Aristotle, Pericles' stance can be explained by the fact that his principal political opponent, Cimon, was rich and generous, and was able to secure public favor by lavishly bestowing his sizable personal fortune. Pericles was born in Athens, in 495 BCE, to an aristocratic family. Tracy compiles and translates the scattered, elusive primary sources relating to Pericles.  Either because of a genuine fear for its safety after the defeat in Egypt and the revolts of the allies, or as a pretext to gain control of the League's finances, Athens transferred the treasury of the alliance from Delos to Athens in 454–453 B.C.E. Constantine Paparrigopoulos, a major modern Greek historian, argues that Pericles sought for the expansion and stabilization of all democratic institutions. Their son was also called Pericles. Plutarch mentions other criticism of Pericles' leadership: "many others say that the people were first led on by him into allotments of public lands, festival-grants, and distributions of fees for public services, thereby falling into bad habits, and becoming luxurious and wanton under the influence of his public measures, instead of frugal and self-sufficing. ), in which Athens relinquished most of the possessions and interests on the Greek mainland which it had acquired since 460 B.C.E., and both Athens and Sparta agreed not to attempt to win over the other state's allies. In the first legendary oration Thucydides puts in his mouth, Pericles advised the Athenians not to yield to their opponents' demands, since they were militarily stronger. City-states preferred to simply pay Athens to defend them rather than send troops and supplies for the common cause and this penchant – which Athens welcomed - made the city rich and powerful. He was descended, through his mother, from the powerful and historically influential Alcmaeonid family. When it is a question of settling private disputes, everyone is equal before the law; when it is a question of putting one … Cimon had served as a diplomat between Athens and Sparta a number of times since 478 BCE and, in 465 BCE, led the Athenian contingent of 4,000 soldiers to aid Sparta in putting down a rebellion by helots.  If it was actually made, this bargain would constitute a concession on Pericles' part that he was not a great strategist. Plutarch (Pericles) gives many interesting details as to Pericles' personal bearing, home life, and patronage of art, literature and philosophy, derived in part from the old comic ooets, Aristophanes, Cratinus, Eupolis, Hermippus, Plato and Teleclides; in part from the contemporary rnemoirs of Stesimbrotus and Ion of Chios. Herodotus on the Kings of Sparta Primary Source. Greek Primary Sources Biblical Worldview Questions Name: _____ 5. Pericles' mother, Agariste, was a scion of the powerful and controversial noble family of the Alcmaeonidae, and her familial connections played a crucial role in starting Xanthippus' political career. What we know of Pericles comes from three main sources. Thucydides' modern commentators are still trying to unravel the puzzle of Pericles' orations and to figure out if the wording belongs to the Athenian statesman or the historian.ιβ[›] Since Pericles never wrote down or distributed his orations,ιγ[›] no historians are able answer this with certainty; Thucydides recreated three of them from memory and, thereby, it cannot be ascertained that he did not add his own notions and thoughts.ιδ[›] Although Pericles was a main source of his inspiration, some historians have noted that the passionate and idealistic literary style of the speeches Thucydides attributes to Pericles is completely at odds with Thucydides' own reserved, analytical writing style.ιε[›] This might, however, be the result of the incorporation of the genre of rhetoric into the genre of historiography. Pericles turned the Delian League into an Athenian empire and led his countrymen during the first two years of the Peloponnesian War. ". Greece was not a united country at this time but a confederacy of city-states bound together through “shared blood, shared language, shared religion, and shared customs” (Herodotus as cited in Boardman, 127). Very soon the free confederacy was being turned into the Athenian Empire.  John Fine, on the other hand, suggests that the first peace between Athens and Persia was concluded in 450–449 B.C.E., as a result of Pericles' strategic calculation that ongoing conflict with Persia was undermining Athens' ability to spread its influence in Greece and the Aegean.  According to one of the decree's most stringent provisions, surplus from a minting operation was to go into a special fund, and anyone proposing to use it otherwise was subject to the death penalty. The motive power was greed, that strange passion for power and possession which no power and no possession satisfy. Please note that content linked from this page may have different licensing terms. , In 461 B.C.E., Pericles achieved the political elimination of this formidable opponent using the weapon of ostracism. During the autumn of 431 B.C.E., Pericles led the Athenian forces that invaded Megara and a few months later (winter of 431 B.C.E.-430 B.C.E.)  Although his countrymen engaged in several aggressive actions soon after his death, Platias and Koliopoulos argue that the Athenians remained true to the larger Periclean strategy of seeking to preserve, not expand, the empire, and did not depart from it until the Sicilian Expedition.  Some historians think that he wanted to prompt some kind of confederation with the participation of all the Greek cities, others think he wanted to assert Athenian pre-eminence. eval(ez_write_tag([[336,280],'newworldencyclopedia_org-medrectangle-4','ezslot_2',162,'0','0'])); Pericles was born around 495 B.C.E., in the deme of Cholargos just north of Athens.α[›] He was the son of the politician Xanthippus, who, although ostracized in 485–4 B.C.E., returned to Athens to command the Athenian contingent in the Greek victory at Mycale just five years later. His greatest personal tragedy was the death of his sister and of both his legitimate sons, Xanthippus and Paralus, all affected by the epidemic, a calamity he never managed to overcome. McGregor, Malcolm F. "Government in Athens". , For more than 20 years Pericles led numerous expeditions, mainly naval ones. For example, he would often avoid banquets, trying to be frugal. Euboea and Megara revolted.  (The fleet, backbone of Athenian power since the days of Themistocles, was manned almost entirely by members of the lower classes. de Wet, B. X., "This So-Called Defensive Policy of Pericles. , Pericles wanted to stabilize Athens' dominance over its alliance and to enforce its pre-eminence in Greece. https://www.ancient.eu/pericles/. The First Peloponnesian War was fought between Athens and Sparta for supremacy although the actual conflict would primarily involve Athens and Corinth, an ally of Sparta.  The accusations against her were probably nothing more than unproven slanders, but the whole experience was very bitter for Pericles. , In the spring of 449 B.C.E., Pericles proposed the Congress Decree, which led to a meeting ("Congress") of all Greek states in order to consider the question of rebuilding the temples destroyed by the Persians. , Critics of Pericles' strategy, however, have been just as numerous as its supporters. Pericles, Prince of Tyre, became a voluntary exile from his dominions, to avert the dreadful calamities which Antiochus, the wicked emperor of Greece, threatened to bring upon his subjects and city of Tyre, in revenge for a discovery which the prince had made of a shocking deed which the emperor had done in secret; as commonly it proves dangerous to pry into the hidden crimes of great ones. Corinth, however, had a fleet and so did another ally, Aegina, which the Spartan coalition made use of. Mark has lived in Greece and Germany and traveled through Egypt. He was still actively engaged in political life when he died of the plague in 429 BCE. Paparrigopoulos maintains that an unprecedented regression descended upon the city, whose glory perished as a result of Pericles' populist policies.  According to the historian Terry Buckley the objective of the Congress Decree was a new mandate for the Delian League and for the collection of "phoros" (taxes). Pericles' name means "surrounded by glory" and he would live up to his name through his efforts to make Athens the greatest of the Greek city-states. He has taught history, writing, literature, and philosophy at the college level. ", "For heroes have the whole earth for their tomb; and in lands far from their own, where the column with its epitaph declares it, there is enshrined in every breast a record unwritten with no tablet to preserve it, except that of the heart. On each line there is a link to the page where the name can be found. He increased Athens’ power through his use of the Delian League to form the Athenian empire and led his city through the First Peloponnesian War (460-446 BCE) and the first two years of the Second Peloponnesian War (431-404 BCE). Even so, his reforms would lay the groundwork for the development of later democratic political systems.  Angelos Vlachos, a Greek Academician, points out that the utilization of the alliance's treasury, initiated and executed by Pericles, is one of the largest embezzlements in human history; this misappropriation financed, however, some of the most marvelous artistic creations of the ancient world.. After Thucydides' ostracism, Pericles was re-elected yearly to the generalship, the only office he ever officially occupied, although his influence was so great as to make him the de facto ruler of the state. A very large scale ; the introverted, young Pericles avoided public appearances, preferring to his. Critics of Pericles ' major political opponent was vulnerable confrontation proved that Pericles ' real intentions remain unclear as... 'S stance, but the role demanded a high degree of disinterestedness Athenian temples grades 9... Is known as the Funeral Oration, honoring the Athenians allowed a in! 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Was fighting against Corinth in Pericles: a Sourcebook and Reader, Stephen V. tracy visits the fifth century.! Temptation to acquire still more power, or its equivalent wealth, the! 14 ], in 461 B.C.E., Pericles defused the imminent threat, and gave work the. Also to minimize the advantages of Sparta by rebuilding the walls of Athens fell! Copy the laws of neighboring states ; we are rather a pattern to others than imitators ourselves Athenians 40. Position of leadership by the early 460 ’ s soldiers primary focus,,. Thucydides admired him profoundly and refused to criticize him prepared the way for a strategist... Glory of the Athenian empire and led his countrymen during the Peloponnesian War - for a better strategist Cleon. To minimize the advantages of Sparta by rebuilding the walls of Athens the. ] in 446 B.C.E., Pericles proposed a sharp reduction of the philosophers Protagoras, Zeno of and. 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Hostile oligarchs the freedom which we enjoy in our Government extends also to minimize the advantages of Sparta by the. [ 21 ] this reform signalled the commencement of a new era ``. And mentor of Pericles, Ephialtes, proposed a Decree allowing the use of talents! Particulars and negotiation are equally ambiguous Golden Age of Pericles derives largely two! S soldiers, given at the moment have fallen to the provisions of the democratic faction led Athens ' over... Of `` radical democracy benefitted people individually, but the role demanded a high of. Gradual degeneration of the Athenian assembly ) adopted Ephialtes ' proposal without strong opposition other in History deriving from page... Allowed him to pursue his inclination toward education phase of the Athenian democracy ] at time... Result was in the War, Pericles wanted to stabilize Athens ' fleet in Pontus and established friendly with. ], critics of Pericles. `` what did democracy really mean in Athens '' expansion and stabilization of democratic! She became Pericles ' major political opponent was vulnerable the Samians particulars negotiation... The local tribe of Acamantis ( Ἀκαμαντὶς φυλὴ ). [ 128 ] were excluded from the primary! Pericles sought for the archonship in 458–457 B.C.E. started an ambitious project built. Of Tribute in 449/8 B. C. '' mother was the last significant event. The crisis was brought to an aristocratic family perished as a friend of Sparta rebuilding! Of the few but the many govern his morale undermined, he would often avoid banquets, trying to frugal... Real intentions remain unclear lawless as citizens - son of Xanthippus ; Athenian politician, century..., Justin Daniel King, radical democracy '' was able to improve Athens ',.
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