Saturday, November 8, 2008

The Era of Pericles

The Era of Pericles was very critical for the Greeks. This was because many significant events occurred during this time. Some of them where the Athens became the most splendid of Greek city-states, both politically and culturally with its fleet, making allies with other city-states in the Delian League against the enemy Persia, and with Pericles many great building projects took place.

Pericles was the son of Xanthippus and Agariste. His father was a military leader in the Persian Wars. His father was also victorious at the battle at Mycale. Pericles came from a high class family and received a good education.

During his childhood he was taught by many great teachers. Some of them include: the philosopher Anaxagoras as well as Zenon of Elea. Pericles started as a statesman; and was a supported of democracy. He wanted all the citizens of Athens to take part in politics.

One of the important events Pericles did for Greece was the building of the Acropolis structures. The Acropolis had temples and was also behind the Pnyx, the place where the assembly of the people gathered. The building of these gave many Athenians jobs. This was one of the importance's of Pericles and his era.

The structures on the acropolis is called the Parthenon. When the Persian invaded Athens in 480 BCE, they destroyed its acropolis. Thus Pericles rebuilt a new temple called the Parthenon on the ashes of the old site in 450 BCE. (Ackroyd, 71)

During the Pericles era he also changes many things. One of them were the changing of the Delian League, a collection of city-states bound together with Athens to stand against Persia, into an Athenian Empire. He also collected annual payments from the member states to maintain a fleet of ships, and the money left over was used to improve Athens. These were a few of the many achievements of Pericles during his era.

As leader of the ruling Democratic party, Pericles changed many aspects of Athenian life. He introduced payments for members of the Assembly, so people no longer needed to be rich to play a part in politics. He spread power more widely, although women and slaves still had no power.
(Morgan, 23)

Pericles died from a plauge that swept over Athenens. The historian wrote, "...The plague seized Pericles, not with sharp and violent fits, but with a dull lingering distemper, wasting the strength of his body and undermining his noble soul. "

This is several of the many accomplishments Pericles made during his lifetime. He changed the city-state Athens and the Athenian lives dramatically.

Ackroyd, Peter, Ancient Greece. DK Publishing, Inc., New York, 2005.

Morgan, Nicola, People Who Made History In: Ancient Greece. Raintree Steck-Vaughn Publishers, New York, 2001.

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