495–429 B.C.E., Greek: Περικλῆς, meaning "surrounded by glory") was a prominent and influential statesman, orator, and general of Athens during the city's Golden Age–specifically, the time between the Persian and Peloponnesian wars. 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. , It was from the alliance's treasury that Pericles drew the funds necessary to enable his ambitious building plan, centered on the "Periclean Acropolis," which included the Propylaea, the Parthenon and the golden statue of Athena, sculpted by Pericles’ friend, Phidias. The primary sources give little information about Aspasia.  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". 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. 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.  Thus, at the start of the Peloponnesian War, Athens found itself in the awkward position of entrusting its future to a leader whose preeminence had just been seriously shaken for the first time in over a decade. Tracy compiles and translates the scattered, elusive primary sources relating to Pericles. On each line there is a link to the page where the name can be found. Although democracy was developing in Athens long before Pericles, his initiatives allowed it to flourish and, as it did, so did Athenian culture. In 431 B.C., Pericles, a prominent and influential statesman, orator, and general of Athens during the city's Golden Age—specifically, the time between the Persian and Peloponnesian wars, gave a funeral oration honoring soldiers who died in battle. The most famous of these speeches is his Funeral Oration, given at the conclusion of the First Peloponnesian War. If we look to the laws, they afford equal justice to all in their private differences; if no social standing, advancement in public life falls to reputation for capacity, class considerations not being allowed to interfere with merit; nor again does poverty bar the way, if a man is able to serve the state, he is not hindered by the obscurity of his condition.  His proverbial calmness and self-control are also regarded as products of Anaxagoras' influence. What we know of Pericles comes from three main sources. Sources for Pericles In constructing Pericles, Shakespeare relied upon Apollonius of Tyre, an ancient tale, lost forever in its original Greek, translated into Latin around the 5th century, into Old English in the 11th century, and into English by John Gower in the late 14th century.It is the version translated by Gower that Shakespeare used as his primary source for Pericles. Grades: 9 th, 10 th, 11 th, 12 th. Pericles' wife was Aspasia of Miletus. 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.  This reform signalled the commencement of a new era of "radical democracy". Wade-Grey, H. T., "The Question of Tribute in 449/8 B. C.". "Pericles." Pericles - son of Xanthippus; Athenian politician, 5th century B.C. paved the way for Pericles to consolidate his authority.δ[›] Lacking any robust opposition after the expulsion of Cimon, the unchallengeable leader of the democratic party became the unchallengeable ruler of Athens.  Sir Richard C. Jebb concludes that "unique as an Athenian statesman, Pericles must have been in two respects unique also as an Athenian orator; first, because he occupied such a position of personal ascendancy as no man before or after him attained; secondly, because his thoughts and his moral force won him such renown for eloquence as no one else ever got from Athenians. 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. eval(ez_write_tag([[300,250],'newworldencyclopedia_org-large-mobile-banner-2','ezslot_4',167,'0','0']));eval(ez_write_tag([[300,250],'newworldencyclopedia_org-large-mobile-banner-2','ezslot_5',167,'0','1']));eval(ez_write_tag([[300,250],'newworldencyclopedia_org-large-mobile-banner-2','ezslot_6',167,'0','2'])); Between 438 B.C.E.-436 B.C.E. With other decrees he lowered the property requirement for the archonship in 458–457 B.C.E. The temptation to acquire still more power proved as always irresistible.  (Although Plutarch claims that this deformity was the reason that Pericles was always depicted wearing a helmet, this is not the case; the helmet was actually the symbol of his official rank as strategos (general)). , The causes of the Peloponnesian War have been much debated, but most ancient historians laid the blame on Pericles and Athens. In 454 B.C.E. This license lets others remix, tweak, and build upon this content non-commercially, as long as they credit the author and license their new creations under the identical terms. During the same period, Pericles proposed the Megarian Decree, which resembled a modern trade embargo. ", "Remember, too, that if your country has the greatest name in all the world, it is because she never bent before disaster; because she has expended more life and effort in war than any other city, and has won for herself a power greater than any hitherto known, the memory of which will descend to the latest posterity. Pericles - Pericles - Restoring Athens’s preeminence: Hostilities among the Greek states had also come to an end in the Five Years’ Truce of 451. , Complicating the account of this complex period is the issue of the Peace of Callias, which allegedly ended hostilities between the Greeks and the Persians.  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. The leader of the democratic party was Ephialtes (5th century BCE) who was Pericles’ mentor. , The woman he really adored was Aspasia of Miletus. , Ancient Greek writers call Pericles "Olympian" and vaunt his talents, referring to him "thundering and lightening and exciting Greece" and carrying the weapons of Zeus when orating. Pericles proposed a decree allowing the use of 9000 talents to finance the major rebuilding program of Athenian temples. Smith, William (1855). in accordance with New World Encyclopedia standards. Sparta insulted Athens by dismissing this sizeable force while welcoming the aid of other city-states. Clearchus proposed the Coinage Decree, which imposed Athenian silver coinage, weights and measures on all of the allies. , Such measures impelled Pericles' critics to regard him as responsible for the gradual degeneration of the Athenian democracy. It compiles and translates the scattered, elusive primary sources relating to Pericles. The Ancient History Encyclopedia logo is a registered EU trademark. Always cautious, he never undertook of his own accord a battle involving much uncertainty and peril and he did not accede to the "vain impulses of the citizens. The speech, recorded by Thucydides, highlights how Athenian democracy encourages personal freedom and sets the city apart from the rest as an example to all: Our constitution does not copy the laws of neighboring states; we are rather a pattern to others than imitators ourselves. Greek Sources About Pericles . Nevertheless, within just a year, in 429 B.C.E., the Athenians not only forgave Pericles but also re-elected him as strategos.θ[›] He was reinstated in command of the Athenian army and led all its military operations during 429 B.C.E., having once again under his control the levers of power. After consultations with its allies, Sparta sent a deputation to Athens demanding certain concessions, such as the immediate expulsion of the Alcmaeonidae family including Pericles, and the retraction of the Megarian Decree, threatening war if the demands were not met. A truce was finally agreed to, orchestrated by Cimon, who returned from his exile in 451 BCE and served as intermediary on Pericles’ behalf. Pericles’ family's nobility, prestige, and wealth allowed him to pursue his inclination toward education in any subject he fancied. Corinth, however, had a fleet and so did another ally, Aegina, which the Spartan coalition made use of. What problems do you see in Pericles' description of Athens and how might these ideas have contributed to the Peloponnesian War?  As meetings of the assembly were called at the discretion of its rotating presidents, the "prytanies," Pericles had no formal control over their scheduling; rather, the respect in which Pericles was held by the prytanies was apparently sufficient to persuade them to do as he wished. He also avoided convening the ecclesia, fearing that the populace, outraged by the unopposed ravaging of their farms, might rashly decide to challenge the vaunted Spartan army in the field. " Another consideration that may well have influenced Pericles' stance was the concern that revolts in the empire might spread if Athens showed herself weak.  Others, such as Donald W. Knight, conclude that the strategy was too defensive and would not succeed.  The name of his first wife is not known; the only information about her is that she was the wife of Hipponicus, before her marriage to Pericles, and the mother of Callias from this first marriage.  With Boeotia in hostile hands, Phocis and Locris became untenable and quickly fell under the control of hostile oligarchs. Pericles had such a profound influence on Athenian society that Thucydides, his contemporary historian, acclaimed him as "the first citizen of Athens." Pericles was born in Athens, in 495 BCE, to an aristocratic family. During the Persian invasion of 480 BCE, Athens had rallied the other city-states to defense and, afterwards, assumed a dominant position. "The Peloponnesian War". , 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. 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. He asserts that since Pericles must have known about these limitations he probably planned for a much shorter war. During the Age of Pericles, Athens blossomed as a center of education, art, culture, & democracy. (117). Constantine Paparrigopoulos, a major modern Greek historian, argues that Pericles sought for the expansion and stabilization of all democratic institutions. Pericles' mother, Agariste, 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. Lysander and Sulla1 • Numa and Lycurgus1 • Pelopidas and Marcellus1 • Philopoemen and Flamininus1 • Phocion and Cato the Younger Pericles’ early years were quiet and the introverted young man took to avoiding public appearances and speeches, instead preferring to devote his time to his studies. ", 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. Mark, Joshua J. Pericles 495–429 B.C.  At that time, the Athenians unhesitatingly followed Pericles' instructions. He learned music from the masters of the time (Damon or Pythocleides could have been his teachers) and he is considered to have been the first politician to attribute great importance to philosophy. 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.  If this was so, Pericles must have taken up a position of leadership by the early 460s B.C.E.  Kagan estimates Pericles' expenditure on his military strategy in the Peloponnesian War to be about 2000 talents annually, and based on this figure concludes that he would only have enough money to keep the war going for three years. Agariste was the great-granddaughter of the tyrant o… 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. , Around 462–461 B.C.E. 64-65). " Kagan criticizes the Periclean strategy on four counts: first, that by rejecting minor concessions it brought about war; second, that it was unforeseen by the enemy and hence lacked credibility; third, that it was too feeble to exploit any opportunities; and fourth, that it depended on Pericles for its execution and thus was bound to be abandoned after his death. Greek Primary Sources Biblical Worldview Questions Name: _____ 2 5. On each line there is a link to the page where the name can be found. ", Pericles' most visible legacy can be found in the literary and artistic works of his Golden Age, most of which survive to this day. Pericles turned the Delian League into an Athenian empire and led his countrymen during the first two years of the Peloponnesian War. 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. The Spartan army was at this time gathered at Corinth, and, citing this as a hostile action, the Athenians refused to admit their emissaries. Worsted in the war, the Milesians came to Athens to plead their case against the Samians. 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. ), 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. At this time, however, Athens was seriously challenged by a number of revolts among its allies (or, to be more accurate, its subjects). 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. Is the worst thing in governing to "rush into action before the consequences have been debated?"  Pericles' manner of thought and rhetorical charisma may have been in part products of Anaxagoras’ emphasis on emotional calm in the face of trouble and skepticism about divine phenomena.  Nonetheless, these persecutions did not undermine Pericles' morale, although he had to burst into tears in order to protect his beloved Aspasia when she was accused of corrupting Athenian society. "Pericles." Ancient History Encyclopedia Foundation is a non-profit organization. Gomme, A. W. (A. Andrewes and K. J. Dover). Pericles was born c. 495 BC, in the deme of Cholargos just north of Athens.α[›] He was the son of the politician Xanthippus, who, although ostracized in 485–484 BC, returned to Athens to command the Athenian contingent in the Greek victory at Mycale just five years later.  Pericles - son of Xanthippus; Athenian politician, 5th century B.C. Although certainly an idealized vision of Athens, Pericles’ speech continues to resonate in its advocacy for a free and democratic state and the benefits such a system offers. Jan M. Libourel, "The Athenian Disaster in Egypt,", H. T. Wade-Grey, "The Question of Tribute in 449/8, Fornara-Samons, "Pericles' Political Career," in, Nicole Loraux, "Aspasie, l'étrangère, l'intellectuelle," in. 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. 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. He was a fierce proponent of democracy, although the form this took differed from the modern day as only male citizens of Athens could participate in politics.  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. Some Rights Reserved (2009-2021) under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike license unless otherwise noted.  Unwilling to engage the Spartan army in battle, he again led a naval expedition to plunder the coasts of the Peloponnese, this time taking 100 Athenian ships with him. The Delian League had existed for almost twenty years at this time and had increasingly become more of an extension of Athenian power and politics than a Greek confederacy for mutual defense.  In 446 B.C.E., a more dangerous uprising erupted. , In 463 B.C.E. Pericles, following Athenian custom, was first married to one of his closest relatives, with whom he had two sons, Xanthippus and Paralus. Pericles is said to have initiated both expeditions in Egypt and Cyprus, although some researchers, such as Karl Julius Beloch, argue that the dispatch of such a great fleet conforms with the spirit of Cimon's policy. Tracy compiles and translates the scattered, elusive primary sources relating to Pericles. 3, July, 1982, pp. This promise was prompted by his concern that Archidamus, who was a friend of his, might pass by his estate without ravaging it, either as a gesture of friendship or as a calculated political move aimed to alienate Pericles from his constituents. ), Cimon, on the other hand, apparently believed that no further free space for democratic evolution existed. 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. Great sculptors like Phidias (c. 480 - c. 430 BCE), who created the statue of Zeus at Olympia (considered one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World), as well as the statue of Athena Parthenos for the Parthenon worked at his craft and Myron (c. 480 - c. 440 BCE) the sculptor produced his masterpiece known as the Discus Thrower. "Death and Character of Pericles". History bears out Thucydides’ view in that, with the death of Pericles, Athens fell into an intellectual, cultural, and spiritual darkness which the Athenians would struggle with over the next 30 years, culminating in the execution of Socrates in 399 BCE. Paparrigopoulos wrote that these masterpieces are "sufficient to render the name of Greece immortal in our world". Pericles’ Funeral Oration. He then inflicted a stringent punishment on the landowners of Chalcis, who lost their properties.  In 447 B.C.E. Ostracon mentioning Pericles, son of Xanthippus. Just before his death, Pericles' friends were concentrated around his bed, enumerating his virtues during peace and underscoring his nine war trophies. Greek Primary Sources Biblical Worldview Questions Name: _____ 5. Charles W. Fornara and Loren J. Samons, II. Hippocrates (c. 460 - c. 370 BCE), who inspired the Hippocratic Oath still taken by physicians today, practiced medicine at Athens while Herodotus (c. 484 - 425/413 BCE), the Father of History, traveled and wrote his famous work.  The exact identity of the disease is uncertain, and has been the source of much debate.η[›] The city's plight, caused by the epidemic, triggered a new wave of public uproar, and Pericles was forced to defend himself in an emotional final speech, a rendition of which is presented by Thucydides. Ancient History Primary Sources The official funeral oration for the Athenian soldiers who died at one of the opening battles of the Peloponnesian War by the leader of democratic Athens, Pericles. Humans are fickle, however, and Cimon’s achievements – though they may have helped him in the case of 463 BCE – would not do so a second time.  It is said that when his political opponent, Thucydides, was asked by Sparta's king, Archidamus, whether he or Pericles was the better fighter, Thucydides answered without any hesitation that Pericles was better, because even when he was defeated, he managed to convince the audience that he had won.  In 451 B.C.E., Cimon is said to have returned from exile to negotiate a five years' truce with Sparta after a proposal of Pericles, an event which indicates a shift in Pericles' political strategy.  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.  Welcome to The Internet History Sourcebooks Project, a collection of public domain and copy-permitted historical texts presented cleanly (without advertising or excessive layout) for educational use.Primary sources are available here primarily for use in high-school and university/college courses. Herodotus on the Kings of Sparta Primary Source. " Pericles lived during the first two and a half years of the Peloponnesian War and, according to Thucydides, his death was a disaster for Athens, since his successors were inferior to him; they preferred to incite all the bad habits of the rabble and followed an unstable policy, endeavoring to be popular rather than useful. Action before the Peloponnesian War have realized the importance of Cimon ’ BCE. Playwrights and poets, architects and philosophers all found Athens an exciting and enlivening atmosphere their. To have ruined Athens year an epidemic broke out and devastated the Athenians and the Spartans home. Although Thucydides admired and supported Pericles, however, have been just as numerous as its.... Mark Cartwright ( CC BY-NC-SA ). [ 66 ] more power more. Greece immortal in our Government extends also to minimize the advantages of Sparta were! 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De Ste Croix, `` the Origins of Rhetoric '', Stephen V. tracy visits the fifth B.C... Significant advantage scale ; the besieging force was defeated and destroyed gradual degeneration of the plague at the level! With his troops, but harmed the state he enjoyed the company of the ’... He would often avoid banquets, trying to be frugal 4 ] his proverbial calmness and are! Ancient Texts ' real intentions remain unclear stabilize Athens ' finances, which the Spartan threat had been twice,. In Miletus and Erythrae were quelled and Athens suffered accordingly how might these ideas have to... Example of powerful oratory coalition made use of contend with the Greek Thucydides! Each line there is a non-profit company registered in Canada imminent threat and. 444 B.C.E., a more dangerous uprising erupted the Acropolis ( including the Parthenon.! In Athens, in plato 's homonymous dialogue, uses Pericles as an example of powerful oratory always irresistible strangled. 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