Pericles

Report
GREECE: PERICLES
Historical context
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Geography, topography and resources of Athens, Attica and the Athenian empire
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Geography
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Topography
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Athens was the city and countryside of Attica
16 km from sea
Attica – land around, a peninsula
Phaleron – old harbour
Piraeus – new harbour
Rocky
Few fertile areas
Resources
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Olives
Grapes
Goats
Bees: honey and wax
Fish
Some grain, but not enough to feed the population
Silver: used to buy triremes
Historical context
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Overview of the development of Athenian democracy
the 6th Century BC, Athens was transformed from a
second-rate polis dominated by aristocrats and
plagued by economic and political problems, into a
prosperous city-state with a sense of unity, optimism
and increasing confidence.
 Solon 594 BC
 In
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became the eponymous archon and decided to make a
more serous attempt to solve the problems causing the
trouble.
Historical context
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He organised the Athenian
people into 4 social classes
Pentecosiomedimni
 Owned a certain amount of
land
 Could become archon or
strategos
Hippeis
 Horse/cavalry class
Zeugitae
 Small farmers
 Hoplite
Thetes
 Landless labouring class
 Could vote
 Auxiliary troops
 Paid to row the boats
 Could not become an archon or
strategos
Historical context
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He set up a council, which could meet regularly and pose questions for the
ecclesia; the People’s Assembly. However, real power, the place of serious
decision-making was a council called the Areopagus. This was composed of
everybody who had been an archon.
Solon’s most important reforms were his economic reforms, which set Athens
up as a commercial centre:
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Cancel all debts
You couldn’t be enslaved for debt
Every father had to teach his son a trade
He banned the export of grain
He brought in foreign workers with skills (pottery, ships, building)
Solon banned the enslavement of Athenians at Athens, and it was thought
highly improper to enslave other Greeks.
Historical context
Cleisthenes 508 BC
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He was Pericles’ great uncle and used the work isonomia (equality)
to describe his reforms of the system of Athenian government. His
reforms became the basis of Athenian democracy during the 5th
Century BC.
After the reforms of Cleisthenes, the Athenian constitution consisted
of:
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New tribes
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He replaced the original 4 tribes based on kinship, to 10 tribes based on
territory; the hill, coast and plain. Each tribe was called a prytanny.
Historical context
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The Boule
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He changed the old Council of Four Hundred to the Council of Five
Hundred. It was divided into groups of 50 men over 30 years of
age from each of the ten tribes. The council managed the day to
day running of the state. It did not create laws but advised
magistrates and submitted proposals to the People’s Assembly.
Every citizen had an opportunity to select its members from the
top two classes by a mixed process of election and lot. The
disadvantage was that it sometimes produced mediocre or
incompetent officials
Archons
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These were chief magistrates and there were 9 in total. They were
elected from the top two wealth classes and held office for one
year. They were held to account for their actions.
Historical context
 The
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Each of the 10 tribes elected a general annually and these formed a
permanent body. They were both civil and military leaders. One of
these emerged as the most influential leader of the generals called
The Strategos. They could be chosen for unlimited successive years.
The Council of the Areopagus
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strategoi (board of 10 generals)
This was an aristocratic body made up of ex-archons who held their
position for life.
Ecclesia
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Also known as the People’s Assembly. It was open to all citizens over
the age of 18 including the lowest class (thetes). It voted on laws,
elected magistrates and decided issues of war and peace. The
meetings were held regularly on a hill in Athens called the pnyx, and
anybody could speak on any subject by taking the podium. This was
the essence of the democracy.
Historical context
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The Law Courts – Heliaea
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It comprised of all those who sat in the Assembly called together
to act as a court. All citizens could appeal against a magistrate’s
decision and try a magistrate for mismanagement. In some cases
there could have been 5000 jurors and in a system with no judges
or lawyers, the jurors became very important and the trials very
public.
Ostracism
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Every year an ostracism was held at which a quorum of at least
6000 citizens had to be present for it to take place. Each citizen
in attendance was given as ostraka and asked to write the name
of a person they considered to be very dangerous to the
democracy. If a majority of citizens gave the same name, that
person was ostracised from Athens for 10 years. The property of
those ostracised was not confiscated.
Historical context
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Overview of Athenian social, religious and economic structures
Social structures
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Democracy
Cleruchs – the thetes were sent out to places that Athens took over and were given land
Panhellenism – all the Greeks working, fighting and living together as one people
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Citizens
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Male child of Athenian parents
Women were not included
Thetes
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Lowest class
Became the rowers
Cleruchs
Historical context
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Women
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The status of a woman was determined by her class
Priestesses were held in the highest respect
The hetairai (female companions) had the greatest social freedom E.g. Aspasia
Expected to keep silent (aidos)
Expected to be a good household manager
Women participated in the religious festivals
Women had their own festivals
No political rights
They were legally under the control of men
Metics
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Foreigners who chose to live permanently in Athens
Craftsmen, traders, farmers, bakers, merchants, fullers
Served in the armed forces
Could not attend the ecclesia
Could not own land
Could not obtain citizenship
Paid a special tax
Brought new religion (Eastern goddesses; Bendis and Cybele)
Historical context
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Slaves
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Privately owned or owned by the
state
It is believed that privately owned
slaves were better treated then
state owned slaves
State owned slaves worked on the
roads, in the dockyards, in the mint
and on public buildings
The lowest class of slaves worked
in the silver mines at Laurium
Prisoners of war
Unwanted children
Children or men sold into slavery
for debt
Children born into slavery
Historical context
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Religious structures
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Worshipped the Pantheon of Gods and Goddesses
Zeus, Hera, Athena
Athena could be the demus unmarried girl to which
the Parthenon was devoted or she could be Athena
Nike, the Goddess of victory and war
The all Athens Games which involved everybody in
the city started with a huge procession outside the
city going up the main thoroughfare (the Panathenaic
way) and ending on the acropolis
The Mysteries of Eleusis – women went into Attica for
a week and let loose their basic instincts
The Lenaea – drama festival
The festival of Dionysus
Historical context
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Economic structures
Athens during the 5th Century BC was the most important
economic power in Greece
 The transformation of the Delian League to the Athenian
Empire gave Athens greater power with access to tribute
 Their pottery was the Black Attic War found and was found
where ever their ships did their trade
 They had a very serious economic problem; they didn’t have
enough grain to feed the population
 Their main source of carbohydrates was imported from the
Black Sea area
 The industrial and commercial life of Athens was carried out
by the metics
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Background and rise to prominence
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Family background and education
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Family background
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Member of the Pentecosiomedimni
He was born into a wealthy family (the Alcmaeonids)
The Alcmaeonids owned cast tracts of land in Attica and were reputed
to be extremely wealthy however, they were generally excluded from
the inner circle of nobility because of their curse (agos)
His father was Xanthippus, a rising politician and general during the
Persian Wars who was ostracised in c.484 BC
His mother was Agariste who was born into the Alcmaeonids
His great-uncle was Cleisthenes, who in 507 BC had reformed Athenian
government
Background and rise to prominence
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It is believed that Pericles was born around 494 BC
He would have been old enough to understand the Athenian
anger and humiliation when the Persians burnt and occupied the
city
‘The fact that he was rich and that he came from a distinguished
family and possessed exceedingly powerful friends made the
fear of ostracism very real to him’ – Plutarch
Like Cleisthenes, Pericles turned his back on his aristocratic
lineage and committed himself to the power of the people, partly
because of his family’s alienation from the rest of the nobility
He probably inherited from his mother’s side a certain antiSpartan attitude. Cleisthenes had been banished from Athens on
the urging of the Spartans who suggested that the Alcamaeonids
were unfit for Athenian society because they were polluted by a
curse
Background and rise to prominence
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Education
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The traditional education in Pericles’ time for boys involved
gymnastics, the recital of epic poems of Homer and music
Pericles’ family’s nobility and wealth allowed him to follow his
natural inclination toward education
Kagan infers that physical training prepared the boys for the
athletic contests that were a regular part of religious festivals
and of Panhellenic competitions, and kept them in condition to
serve as soldiers
Kagan infers that musical education taught the boys to sing and
play instruments and to learn the traditional body of poetry (the
poems of Homer). This prepared the boys for competitions which
would involve choruses at religious festivals
Background and rise to prominence
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Teachers
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Damon
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Plutarch gives us information about Pericles’ teachers in Life of Pericles
Most would agree that Damon was Pericles’ music teacher (which included poetry) and
would also train Pericles for his political contests
Damon was interested in politics and philosophy and it was probably because of him that
Pericles entered politics as a radical
Pericles’ enemies claimed that it was Damon who advised him to use public funds to pay
citizens for jury service
He was ostracised for being an intriguer and supporter of tyranny
‘A most accomplished man in every way, as well as a musician and a companion of
inestimable value for young men’ - Plato
Pythocleides
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According to Aristotle, he thoroughly trained Pericles in music
Background and rise to prominence
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Zeno
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A pre-Socratic Greek philosopher of southern Italy
Zeno taught Pericles a technique of cross examination, which allowed Pericles to corner his opponent by
a method of question and answer
He taught natural philosophy
Inventor of dialectic and several famous paradoxes
Anaxagoras
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Pre-Socratic Greek philosopher
Member of the Ionian School of philosophy
Metic
Imparted to Pericles the majesty and gravity he had in all his sayings and doings, superior to all arts of
popularity
He appears to have been Pericles’ most influential teacher
His scientific ideas freed Pericles from the superstitions held by the people he guided
It is said his studies were in natural science
Nicknamed ‘intelligence personified’
Background and rise to prominence
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Early political career to 460 BC
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In 480 BC the Persians invaded Greece for the second time and Athens was
evacuated. Pericles devoted himself to being a soldier. He showed initiative and
joined the people’s party
As Choregus in 472 BC he paid for Aeschylus’ play The Persians to be produced
at the festival of Dionysus. This play gave him popularity among the citizens and
therefore he gained some influence
It is thought that he used the revolt and subjugation of Naxos by Cimon and the
Delian League forces in 469 BC, to make his first speech
Some believe that Pericles was the leading prosecutor against Cimon, the head
of the conservative party. Although Cimon was acquitted, this confrontation
proved that Pericles’ major opponent was vulnerable
He associated with Ephialtes from 463 BC onwards
They called for an ostracism of Cimon and he was ostracised
He proposed a decree that would allow the poor to watch theatrical plays
without paying
Career
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Democratic reforms and policies
 When Ephialtes was murdered c. 461 BC, Pericles
introduced ‘a sweeping policy allowing Athenians to
participate in all aspects of their government at state
expense’. C. M. Bowra, in his book Periclean Athens,
argues that Pericles completed the work started by
Themistocles because he was intensely patriotic, and
believed in Athens. If Athens was to be a great city he
envisaged, every citizen had to play his part to the full
extent of his ability.
Career
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The payment of jurors 461 BC
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Pericles proposed a bill for the payment of jurors in the Heliaea
This could be seen as an attack on the Areopagus
This encouraged citizens to undertake jury service
Jurors were paid 2 obols a day to sit on juries
This resulted in the democratisation of the law courts
Pericles became wildly popular as the jurors composed of
commoners who were never before paid for service
The aristocrats were outraged and blamed Pericles for lowering
the standards of the Athenian court
The jury was selected by lot, a set number from each tribe
Therefore one faction could not control the court
Career
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The admission of the zeugitae to the archonship
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This occurred at about 458 BC
Pericles proposed a bill that allowed the zeugitae to hold
archonship
Archons were now selected by lot
He also introduced a payment for service as an archon
They were paid 4 obols a day. This meant that there was no need
to restrict it to the two richest classes
This continued to weaken the power of the aristocracy
Payment of the Boule
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One drachma was payed to the members of the Council of 500
It was also paid to other officials except generals
Career
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Citizenship law
Pericles introduced this decreed between 451 – 450 BC
 It was passed by the ecclesia
 It revised the citizenship roles
 Restricted the admission of new citizens depending upon
their parentage
 To become an Athenian citizen, both of your parents had to
already be Athenian citizens and they had to be legally
married
 This limited the number of people who could benefit from
the wealth of the city and its empire
 This limited the number of people who could wed
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Career
Military career
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Battle of Tanagra 457 BC
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Pericles fought as a citizen
‘Brave and fond of danger’ - Plutarch
Athenians lost
Egyptian expedition 455 BC
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Egypt was one of the main sources of grain
Egypt was part of the Persian empire and the Persians did not want to trade
their grain their the enemy
Pericles wanted to take over the trade
Sent out a fleet of 200 ships up the Nile
All the ships were lost
Could not secure this second source of grain
Career
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The Peloponnese 454 BC
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Pericles was strategos
Pericles was given command of a fleet of 100 triremes
Defeated the army from Sicyon at Nemea
Attacked Acarnania, ravaged and looted the land
Unsuccessfully besieged the city of Oeniadae
Sailed back to Athens
Southern Italy and Sicily 450s BC
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There was a rich source of grain supply, but for hundreds of years the area had been settled by other
Greek cities especially Corinth
Corinth resented the Athenians for trying to take this grain trade from them
Pericles made a serious attempt to get the trade towards the end of the 450s
At one stage he took control of the whole of central Greece, and even making an alliance with Argos
This only came to an end when Corinth was encouraged by Sparta to fight back in the so called First
Peloponnesian War
It ended in 445 BC with the collapse of Athens’ control of central Greece and Pericles making a
precarious peace with Sparta
Career
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The Chersonese 447 BC
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Pericles took 100 Athenian colonists to the Chersonese to help build up the number of Greeks living
there
The Greek colonies were under constant attacks and raids from the Thracian tribes who lived nearby
He built a fortified wall across the Isthmus
This stopped the raids and allowed the Greek colonies to grow
Euboea 446 BC
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Part of the Delian League
The inhabitants decided to revolt
Pericles was sent to restore order
The Megarians also revolted and the Spartans sent an army to invade Attica
Pericles crossed back, avoided a battle with the Spartan army and supposedly managed to bribe one
of the advisers of the Spartan king
Pericles returned to Euboea with 5000 hoplites and 50 triremes
He captured the city of Chalcis, banished its leading citizens and captured the city of Hestiaea
He moved the entire population out and replaced it with cleruchs
Career
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Thirty Years Peace 445 BC
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Agreement between Sparta and Athens
Pericles knew that if Athens needed to devote more energy maintaining its naval empire, it had to secure a lasting peace
with Sparta
Samos 440 BC
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The people of Samos refused to end a war with Miletus
Many Athenians believed that Pericles undertook this campaign to please his mistress Aspasia who came from Miletus
Pericles took 50 of their most influential men and 50 children as hostages and sent them to the island of Lemnos
He established a democracy and returned to Athens
They revolted against this new government
The Persian satrap freed the hostages and prepared for war
Pericles returned with an army of triremes and fought a naval battle against the Samians
Pericles was victorious and besieged the city of Samos
More Athenian ships came and Pericles decided to sail back out to sea, leaving a small number of Athenian ship still at
Samos
The Samians attacked the remaining forces and destroyed the ships
Pericles returned and defeated a second Samian fleet and began the siege again
It took 9 months to capture it
He demolished their walls, confiscated their fleet of war ships, took more hostages and made them pay a large fine
Pericles became very popular in Athens after this victory
Career
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Black Sea 436 BC
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It was an attempt to show how strong Athens was to the tribes who lived there
Pericles sailed into the Black Sea and stopped at the various Greek colonies and
negotiated with them over grain supplies for Athens
The protection of the trading routes was of crucial importance to the Athenians
Pericles left a military force and some triremes to help some citizens of Sinope dispose the
tyrant of the city, Timesilaus
600 Athenians then settled into Sinope to help the locals keep control of their city
Alliance with Corcyra 433 BC
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This island had been founded by Corinth
It became very powerful as ships heading to Italy needed to stop there
Pericles was keen on developing a relationship with it
By 432 BC Corinth and Corcyra fought out a sea battle at Sybota
Corcyra won
The Corinthians must have been annoyed that the Athenian ships stood by, clearly ready to
assist Corcyrean ships if they were needed
This is seen as one of the causes of the Peloponnesian War
Career
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Potidaea 432 BC
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It was a Corinthian colony
It was an important trading centre in the Athenian empire
It welcomed Corinthian officials into the city every year
This showed support for Corinth
The Athenians besieged the city and took over it
Megara 432 BC
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Pericles proposed a decree that banned the Megarians from
trading with any of the Athenian controlled markets in the
Aegean and Black Sea
This caused considerable hardship and forced the Megarians to
request assistance from the Spartans and other members of the
Peloponnesian League
Career
Building program
 This occurred during the peak of Pericles’
power
 Athens held unused tribute from the annual
payment made to the Delian League
- Pericles proposed that his money should be used to fund a building
program which would make Athens beautiful
- He did not consult the allies
- Pericles argued that the Athenians were not obliged to provide an
account of how the money was spent, since Athens was fulfilling its
responsibilities in maintaining peace
- Thucydides (son of Melesias) denounces Pericles’ actions as
barefaced tyranny
- Pericles offered to pay for the buildings himself, provided that he
be given full credit for them for posterity
•
Career
 His
aims were to glorify Athens and to ensure that the
unskilled masses, who had no military training, should
not be barred from benefiting from the national income
and yet should not be paid for sitting about and doing
nothing
 He wanted to increase Athens’ prosperity and share the
wealth with people of all classes by creating a demand
for all kinds of enterprises, providing an inspiration for
art and transforming the people into wage earners
Career
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The Parthenon
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Built between 447 – 432 BC
Made of white marble
Largest Doric temple built in antiquity
Ictinus and Callicrates were its architects
The great martial pan-Hellenic myths including the battle of Giants,
Lapiths battling with centaurs, Amazons and the Trojan War is
represented through carvings
There is a frieze depicting the Panathenaic procession and the gods
awaiting its arrival
It contained a room which was used as a treasury
The foundation of a previous temple was used as its basis
The columns lean slightly inwards to make it appear more graceful
Career
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Athena Parthenos
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11.5 metres high
Stood in the cella of the Parthenon
Central core was of wood to which were
attached plates of ivory for the goddess’ face,
neck, arms and feel
The Gorgon’s head that stood on her shield
was also made of ivory
Gold was used for her garment and snake
bracelets
Other parts are supposed to have been of
gilded bronze
She rested on her shield with her spear
against her left shoulder
She wore a helmet with a sphinx, winged
horses and griffins
She is depicted accepting a statue of Nike
(victory) as thanksgiving from her people
Career
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The Temple of Athena
Nike
 Commemorate
the
victory of the Persians
 Ionic style
 It is a smaller temple
situated on the acropolis
Career
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The Temple of
Hephaestus
 Dedicated
to the god
of the artisans
 Construction started
during the tyranny in
the 6th Century BC
 Construction
restarted at the time
of Pericles
Career
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The Temple of Poseidon at Sunium
Career
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The Propylaea
 Situated
to the left side of the Acropolis
 Gateway
 Made of Pentelic marble
Career
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The Odeon
 Theatre
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from the
timbers and
masts captured
from Persian
ships
Career
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Piraeus
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The new harbour
Although not a building, it
was built during Pericles’
time
Constructed by
Hippodamus of Miletus
Storehouses, a corn
exchange and dry docks
for the repair of ships were
built
The emporion – a
showplace where
merchants displayed their
products was rebuilt
Career
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The Erechtheum
 Temple
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to Athena and Poseidon Erechtheus
Career
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People employed in the building program
 Artists
and craftsmen – architects, sculptors, modellers,
painters, coppersmiths, workers in gold and ivory, stone
masons and engravers
 Tradesmen and labourers – dyers, rope makers,
weavers, leatherworkers, miners, road builders, wagon
makers, trainers of draught animals, drivers, sailors and
merchants
Career
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Roles as general (strategos) and politician
 In 459 BC he became the leader of the radical democratic faction
 Pericles held the position of strategos continuously for 16 years until his death in
429 BC, except for the year 430 BC
 Pericles was removed from office and fined in 430 BC. This was because the
Athenians were unhappy about Pericles’ political policies and the hardships
suffered during the early years of the Peloponnesian War
 He convened the assembly and presided over it
 His voice and opinion was the one most citizens wanted to hear first
 He controlled the domestic and foreign affairs of the polis
 Commanded the Athenian forces on land and sea
 Influenced the Athenian foreign policy
 Responsible for calling up citizens for naval and military service and maintaining
the fleet
 Could conduct preliminary negotiations with foreign states
Career
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Methods of maintaining leadership and influence
 According to Plutarch and Thucydides, Pericles had many
admirable personal qualities:
 Reserve and dignity
 Great integrity
 Intense patriotism and idealism
 Moderation and a sense of justice
 Persuasive oratory e.g. funeral oration
 Intelligence and rational thought
 Incorruptibility
 Determination
Career
 He
continuously broke down the powers of the
aristocracy
 He returned some of the power to the people
 His introduction of payment to jurors made him popular
with the people
 His constant encouragement of the people e.g. funeral
oration
 Building program brought employment to Athens
leading to economic growth and development
 Athens became a wealthy cultural centre
 He sent out cleruchs
Career
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Promotion of Athenian imperialism
 Cleruchs
- Pericles sent out thetes to the cities and
islands they took over to give them new land
 The Athenians formalised the imperial view of
themselves by removing the League funds to the
Athenian treasury in 454 BC on the pretext of the
failure of the Egyptian campaign
 The Athenians took over surrounding cities and turned
them into democracy
 The Spartans disliked the Athenians as they feared they
would spread democracy into their society
Career
•
Role and influence in the development of Athens, the ‘Golden Age’
 Pericles contributed to the cultural greatness of Athens by his vision for
and pride in the city he loved
 He was responsible for providing the incentive and support for the
marvellous buildings in and around the city, especially those on the
acropolis
 He was associated with philosophers and sophists, dramatists, writers,
town planners, artists and architects, many of whom where part of his
circle E.g. Anaxagoras, Protagoras, Damon, Sophocles, Herodotus,
Hippodamus, Pheidias, Callicrates and Ictinus
 He succeeded in enabling Athens to rise to the height of its prosperity by
expanding the economy
 Opened up the Athenian government to the people and completed its
democratic development
 Athens became the cultural centre of Greece
Career
•

Relationships with prominent individuals: Aspasia, Ephialtes,
Pheidias
Aspasia
It is said that between 445 – 440 BC, Pericles met a young
woman named Aspasia
 She was a hitarii from Miletus
 The traditional view states that she was very intelligent and
mixed with leading Athenian philosophers
 She taught rhetoric
 She was legally forbidden to marry an Athenian citizen
because she was a hitarii and a foreigner
 She lived with Pericles as if they were married
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Career
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Had a son with Pericles who was denied Athenian citizenship under Pericles’ own
law
After Pericles had died from the plague, his son was legitimised and became a
citizen
His son changed his name to Pericles and was later elected strategos. He was
one of the strategoi who was executed after the Battle of Arginusae
Many leading comic playwrights made fun of Aspasia’s influence over Pericles
She was charged with immorality and accused of impiety
She was accused of corrupting the women of Athens in order to satisfy Pericles’
perversions
Charged with having influence of Pericles to attack Samos
Pericles had her acquitted
Aristophanes goes so far as to blame her for the start of the Peloponnesian War
Pericles’ relationship with Aspasia was unusual. He involved her regularly in
conversation with other men and discussed important matters with her and
treated her opinions with respect
Career

Ephialtes
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Associated with Pericles
He and Pericles called for the ostracism of Cimon
He became the leader of the People’s party in 468 – 467 BC
He set out to attack the power of the Areopagus
He accused and impeached members of the Areopagus for corruption and fraud
While Cimon was absent he introduced laws that stripped the Areopagus of its
major powers
He transferred the powers to the Boule, the ecclesia and the Heliaea
His reforms gave more control of the state to the lower classes and earned him
the hatred of the aristocrats and others
He was assassinated in c.462/1 BC
Known for his justice
Incorruptible honesty
Career

Pheidias
Architect/sculptor
 Was a part of Pericles’ building program
 While making the statue of Athena for the Parthenon, he
was attacked for embezzlement of funds. He was proved
innocent
 He was also accused of impiety
 He carved his own and Pericles’ faces on the figures on
Athena’s shield, he was then charged with impiety
 He was convicted and exiled
 He died in prison
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Career
•
Role in the Peloponnesian War (431 BC): causes, strategies and
leadership
 Before the outbreak of war in 431 BC:
1. Pericles stood firm against the Peloponnesian demands
that the Athenians should:
Give their allies their freedom
 Revoke the Megarian Decree
 Drive him out because of the curse of the Alcmaeonids

2. He urged the people not to make any concessions
under the threat of force, because once they give way
on any issue, other demands would follow
Career
3. He outlined a policy that he believed would bring no
danger to the city
Those who lived in Attica were to bring their property into Athens
 They were not to go out and offer battle but to guard the city
 Their navy was to be brought up to the highest efficiency
 Their allies were to be handled firmly since Athens’ strength came
from the tribute

4. He instilled confidence into the people by reassuring
them about their financial and military resources
5. He supervised the evacuation of the countryside
Career

Causes
 Athens’
alliance with Corcyra angered the Corinthians
 The Megarian Decree
 The Corinthians believed that Athens had violated the
Thirty Years Peace with Sparta
 Other incidents – See military career
Career

Strategies
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Thucydides tells us that Pericles was certain that Sparta did not want peace and
that the Athenians were stronger especially when it came to naval forces.
Pericles thought that endurance constituted they key for victory
Pericles was unwilling to engage the Spartan army in battle
Pericles preferred to lead himself a naval force of 100 ships, which plundered
the coasts of the Peloponnese
He opposed the demands to give the allies their freedom and revoke the
Megarian Decree
He relied on the fleet to assure Athenian food supplies and secure the empire
whose resources the naval policy depended
He relied on the walls to protect Athens
The middle class army suffered in morale, and the city became overcrowded
The plague broke out
Career
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Leadership
His funeral oration gave the Athenians hope and boosted
morale
 ‘It may have been wrong to take it (empire) but not to
defend it now would end in ruin for Athens’
 He did not summon the assembly fearing that any general
discussion would result in wrong decisions made under the
influence of anger rather than reason
 He was fined and removed from office for 1 year by the
citizens as a result of the hardships of the first two years of
the Peloponnesian War
 The people soon discovered that there was no one else with
his qualities of leadership and he was re-elected strategos

Career
•
Manner and impact of his death
 Pericles died from the plague during the first years of the Great
Peloponnesian War
 Pericles’ two legitimate sons also died from the plague
 Pericles died in about 429 BC
 After his death, the course of events soon brought home Pericles’
worth to the Athenians and made them sharply conscious of his
loss
 A new type of politician emerged to lead the people and the
people were easily swayed by their clever and emotive speeches,
and their policies appealed more to the sailors, craftsmen and
traders for who the Peloponnesian War meant pay and profit
 The politicians (demagogues) reversed Pericles’ war policy
Evaluation

Impact and influence on his time
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Made Athens into the cultural centre of Greece
He associated with philosophers bringing about a new way of thinking
Athens was at its peak and experienced economic growth and
development
His building program still remains today
Democracy truly spread through Pericles’ time
Athens expanded her empire
Pericles brought creative and intellectual forces together in Athens and
gave them direction
He brought great changes to the government of Greece
Brought changes to the nature of art and progress of his time
See Assessment of his life and career
Evaluation

Assessment of his life and career
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Able to persuade and guide the demos by his eloquence, moderation and logic
Passionate about making the city he loved the leader of the Hellenic world even if it was at the
expense of Aegean allies and other Greek states
Never veered from his vision or the policies he considered best for Athens
He had enemies who thought he had too much power and yet he was subject to the same scrutiny
by the demos as other officials
His democracy was dependent on the existence of slavery and tribute from the empire to
function
He admitted himself that the empire that he strove so hard to maintain was a ‘tyranny’
He guided Athens to the height of prosperity by expanding the economy
He created a milieu for artists and writers
His career from 460 BC had been pushing the Peloponnesians closer to war and when he knew it
was unavoidable he decided it would be better if it happened while he was still influential with
the people
Some say his dislike of the Spartans ultimately led to the Great Peloponnesian War
Evaluation
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Legacy
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Magnificent building constructed on his initiative, especially those
on the acropolis
A full participatory democracy
A city with a cultural and intellectual reputation
It could be said that Pericles left his people with a war that
Thucydides described as ‘the greatest disturbance in the history
of the Hellenes’
Today we benefit from the ideas and concepts that were
developed under the guidance of Pericles and the thinkers of his
time
Laid the foundation for modern democracy – a legacy to men
and women seeking to govern themselves in a free society
Evaluation

Ancient and modern images and interpretations of
Pericles

 Thucydides
Ancient
(son of Melesias) denounced that Pericles’
actions (building program) was ‘barefaced tyranny’
Evaluation

 Thucydides
Ancient
considered Pericles the greatest of all
leading figures of the Peloponnesian War
 Pericles took care not to make himself too familiar a
figure, but reserved himself for great occasions and
allowed friends and other public speakers to deal with
less important matters’ – Plutarch
 ‘Pericles’ leadership was achieved by manipulating the
demos’ - Plato
Evaluation

 ‘And,
Ancient
so far as the general needs of the state as a
whole were concerned, they regarded Pericles as the
best man they had. Indeed, during the whole period of
peace time when Pericles was at the held of affairs the
state was wisely led and firmly guarded, and it was
under him that Athens was at her greatest’ – Thucydides
 ‘At the beginning of his career he took no part in
politics, but devoted himself to soldiering, in which
showed great daring and enterprise’ – Plutarch
Evaluation

Thucydides
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wrote in the 5th C.
generally regarded as reliable and thorough in his research, the first of
all scientific historians
‘Pericles, because of his position, his intelligence, and his known integrity,
could respect the liberty of the people, and at the same time, hold them in
check. It was he who led them, rather than they who led him, and since he
never sought power from any wrong motive, he was under no necessity of
flattering them, in fact he was so highly respected that he was able to
speak angrily to them and to contradict them.’
Admired Pericles, ‘[Athens] was at its greatest under him’
After Pericles’ speech to the Ecclesia advising about the war against
Sparta, ‘the Athenians concluded that Pericles’ advice was best and passed
a decree as he had recommended, and on his motion answered the
Spartans.’
Evaluation
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Plutarch
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1st and 2nd C. AD
his aim was to write biographies with moral purposes
used all sources available to him, many of which are only known today
through his citation of them
Political opponents: ‘Thucydides and his supporters were constantly
condemning Pericles for wasting public money and destroying the national
revenue’
Political strategies: ‘Pericles… took care not to make himself too familiar
a figure… but reserved himself… for great occasions, and allowed friends
and other public speakers to deal with less important matters.’
Personality strengths: Believed Pericles had ‘a dignity of spirit and
nobility of utterance… also a composure of countenance… which deeply
impressed his audience’
Evaluation
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Eupolis
5th C. BC
one of the greatest poets of Old Attic Comedy
‘in eloquence no man could equal him’
Evaluation

 Paparrigopoulos’
Modern
point of view is that Pericles sought
for the expansion and stabilisation of all democratic
institutions
 Kagan described Pericles’ relationship with Aspasia was
‘shocking and offensive to many’
 Kagan describes Athens as ‘an economic and cultural
centre. The New York of the day’
Evaluation
 Modern
 ‘A
man detached from society, indifferent to
conventional opinions and devoted, at all costs, to what
he conceived to be the role and destiny of his city’ –
Fornara and Samons
Evaluation

Donald Kagan
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Friends:
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Pericles had a ‘wide circle of friends and acquaintances. He was intimate
to the point of easy jocularity with some, he derived the deepest intellectual
pleasure from others, and he made use of the talents and friendship of all.’
Usual for men to meet during leisure hours at the gymnasium, the dinner
table, or over bowls of wine
Instead Pericles met his friends during business hours in connection with
common activities, such as political (Clienias- Pericles was co-guardian of
his orphaned sons) or architectural and artistic projects (Pheidias)
Others he engaged in philosophical conversation (inc. his teachers,
Damon, Anaxagoras, and Protagoras).
Also friends with Aeschylus and Sophocles
Evaluation

Leadership:
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‘opponents arose to challenge his leadership. So great was his influence
and popular support that they could not immediately attack him and his
policies.’
‘Pericles worked consistently to resist the desires of ambitious expansionists
and avoid undue risks. He plainly believed that intelligence and reason
could restrain unruly passions, maintain the empire at its current size, and
use its revenues for a different, safer, possibly even greater glory than the
Greeks had yet known.’
‘… he was one of those individuals who not merely accept the condition of
the world they mind but try to shape it to an image in their own words.’
‘Each year he had to stand for re-election and was constantly subject to
public scrutiny and political change.’
Aimed at goals ‘that went far beyond the immediate concerns that fully
occupy most politicians and statesmen.’
Evaluation

Personality:
 Kagan-
Pericles was indifferent to money, led a modest
social life without great expenditures
Evaluation

Victor Ehrenberg
 Wrote
From Solon to Socrates
 ‘The people in general trusted him’
 ‘wise and strong-minded statesman’
Evaluation

R.K. Sinclair
 Democracy
and Participation in Athens
 Leadership: ‘Pericles deliberately sought the favour of
the people and a firmer, more aristocratic or monarchical
style’
Evaluation

Chester Starr
 ‘Pericles
was incorruptible… a masterful speaker and a
clear thinker.’
 ‘Pericles popularity gave little room for other politicians.’
Evaluation

John Thorley
 ‘Pericles
was by any standards a great leader’

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