Pericles witnessed both his legitimate sons from his first wife, Paralus and Xanthippus fall fatally ill with the plague.  When the enemy retired and the pillaging came to an end, Pericles proposed a decree according to which the authorities of the city should put aside 1,000 talents and 100 ships, in case Athens was attacked by naval forces. According to Aristotle, Aristodicus of Tanagra killed Ephialtes. , 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.  This relationship aroused many reactions and even Pericles' own son, Xanthippus, who had political ambitions, did not hesitate to slander his father. After reviewing the symptoms described in Thucydides’ accounts, many scholars and physicians concluded that the plague of Athens was most likely caused by typhus, smallpox or measles. The Athenians demanded their immediate surrender, but after the Battle of Coronea, Pericles was forced to concede the loss of Boeotia to recover the prisoners taken in that battle.  Simon Hornblower has argued that Pericles' selection of this play, which presents a nostalgic picture of Themistocles' famous victory at Salamis, shows that the young politician was supporting Themistocles against his political opponent Cimon, whose faction succeeded in having Themistocles ostracized shortly afterwards.  At this time, however, Athens was seriously challenged by a number of revolts among its subjects. These years mark the zenith of Athenian greatness.  Pericles also gave his compatriots some advice on their present affairs and reassured them that, if the enemy did not plunder his farms, he would offer his property to the city. Pericles contracted the plague, and unlike Thucydides, he did not recover and in fact died in 429 B.C.E. This ban strangled the Megarian economy and strained the fragile peace between Athens and Sparta, which was allied with Megara. , After Pericles divorced his wife, he had a long-term relationship with Aspasia of Miletus, with whom he had a son, Pericles the Younger. 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 cold and analytical writing style. He organized the Athenian Empire and commanded his people in the Peloponnesian War against the rival …  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)..  With his last attempt at negotiation thus declined, Archidamus invaded Attica, but found no Athenians there; Pericles, aware that Sparta's strategy would be to invade and ravage Athenian territory, had previously arranged to evacuate the entire population of the region to within the walls of Athens. Papagrigorakis 2013, “The Plague of Athens: An Ancient Act of Bioterrorism?”) or the death of a leader. , Further assessments about Pericles and his era, "Perikles" redirects here.  The Athenians' justification was that the Megarians had cultivated the sacred land consecrated to Demeter and had given refuge to runaway slaves, a behavior which the Athenians considered to be impious.  His most controversial measure, however, was a law of 451 BC limiting Athenian citizenship to those of Athenian parentage on both sides.. We strive for accuracy and fairness. , Plutarch says that Pericles stood first among the Athenians for forty years. He remained in power until his death in 429 BC. Plutarch seems to believe that Pericles and the Athenians incited the war, scrambling to implement their belligerent tactics "with a sort of arrogance and a love of strife".  In 433 BC the enemy fleets confronted each other at the Battle of Sybota and a year later the Athenians fought Corinthian colonists at the Battle of Potidaea; these two events contributed greatly to Corinth's lasting hatred of Athens. In the end, the plague played a leading factor in the defeat of Athens during the Peloponnesian War. Pericles is known as the most prominent Athenian leader during the Peloponnesian War. He was descended, through his mother, from the powerful and historically-influential Alcmaeonid family. In 430 BC, a plague struck the city of Athens, which was then under siege by Sparta during the Peloponnesian War (431-404 BC). There are a number of DNA tests available but the most common and most trusted of them all is Ancestry.com, Central Greece & Attica – Greek Diaspora Travel, Central & West Macedonia – Greek Diaspora Travel, Eastern Macedonia & Thrace – Greek Diaspora Travel, Aegean Sea Islands – Greek Diaspora Travel.  This is considered to be a monumental oration, revealing Pericles' virtues but also his bitterness towards his compatriots' ingratitude. But even if the policies of Pericles had not been abandoned by the feeble Athenian democracy, the cost of the war would have proved too great and thus Athenian defeat was inevitable. , No definite record exists of how exactly Pericles managed to convince the residents of Attica to agree to move into the crowded urban areas. , Pericles' manner of thought and rhetorical charisma may have possibly been in part products of Anaxagoras' emphasis on emotional calm in the face of trouble, and skepticism about divine phenomena. , In 446 BC, a more dangerous uprising erupted. Pericles, born in 495 B.C., was a Greek statesman, orator, and general who led Athens during its golden age. The campaign culminated in disaster; the besieging force was defeated and destroyed. Pericles marked a whole era and inspired conflicting judgments about his significant decisions.  He first proposed a decree that permitted the poor to watch theatrical plays without paying, with the state covering the cost of their admission. In 455 Tolmides ravaged Laconia and secured Naupactus on the Corinthian gulf; in 454 Pericles himself defeated the Sicyonians, and made a descent upon Oeniadae at the mouth of the gulf, and in 453 conducted a cleruchy to the Thracian Chersonese. , Thucydides (the historian), an admirer of Pericles, maintains that Athens was "in name a democracy but, in fact, governed by its first citizen".  Accordingly, he enacted legislation granting the lower classes access to the political system and the public offices, from which they had previously been barred.  Hanson stresses that the Periclean strategy was not innovative, but could lead to a stagnancy in favor of Athens. According to Vlachos, Thucydides must have been about 30 years old when Pericles delivered his Funeral Oration and he was probably among the audience. , Thucydides argues that Pericles "was not carried away by the people, but he was the one guiding the people". Pericles, born in 495 B.C., was a Greek statesman, orator, and general who led Athens during its golden age. Plutarch says "granddaughter" of Cleisthenes.  For his part, Ben X. de Wet concludes his strategy would have succeeded had he lived longer. He had rallied Athenians to continue supporting the war despite grave losses. He asserts that since Pericles must have known about these limitations he probably planned for a much shorter war. , In any case, seeing the pillage of their farms, the Athenians were outraged, and they soon began to indirectly express their discontent towards their leader, who many of them considered to have drawn them into the war. To put this into perspective, the population of Athens at the time was about 300,000 to 400,000, so the plague claimed approximately 25% of the city’s population. , Nothing was more alien to the Greeks than the notion of a Separation between church and state. How many people throughout history have so much impact on the world that an entire time period has been named after them? Pericles believed these should be the goals for every Athenian to live and die for. Kagan estimates Pericles' expenditure on his military strategy … [λ] According to Kagan, Pericles' vehement insistence that there should be no diversionary expeditions may well have resulted from the bitter memory of the Egyptian campaign, which he had allegedly supported.  In contrast, Donald Kagan asserts that the democratic measures Pericles put into effect provided the basis for an unassailable political strength. Pericles and his friends were never immune from attack, as preeminence in democratic Athens was not equivalent to absolute rule.  The crisis was brought to an official end by the Thirty Years' Peace (winter of 446–445 BC), in which Athens relinquished most of the possessions and interests on the Greek mainland which it had acquired since 460 BC, and both Athens and Sparta agreed not to attempt to win over the other state's allies. Hence, the historian's hinted assertion that Greek public opinion espoused Sparta's pledges of liberating Greece almost uncomplainingly seems tendentious.  He also attributes authorship of the Funeral Oration to Aspasia and attacks his contemporaries' veneration of Pericles. He was implicated in a policy of making constant offerings and of launching huge architectural religious works not only on the Acropolis but also throughout Attica; and, furthermore, he was engaged in such activities at a time when city was introducing profound changes into its religious account of its origins—that is, autochthony—within a context of strained diplomatic relations. 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. In Athens, the community provided a tight framework for religious manifestations while, symmetrically, religion was deeply embedded in civic life. He himself died of the plague later in the year. In 454 BC he attacked Sicyon and Acarnania. [ζ] Thucydides hints at the same thing, believing the reason for the war was Sparta's fear of Athenian power and growth. The characteristics of the Periclean age have been discussed here.  Angelos Vlachos, a Greek Academician, points out the use of the alliance's treasury, initiated and executed by Pericles, as one of the largest embezzlements in human history; this misappropriation financed, however, some of the most marvellous artistic creations of the ancient world.  In 451 BC, Cimon returned from exile and negotiated a five years' truce with Sparta after a proposal of Pericles, an event which indicates a shift in Pericles' political strategy.  (The fleet, backbone of Athenian power since the days of Themistocles, was manned almost entirely by members of the lower classes. References.  When Pericles was later audited for the handling of public money, an expenditure of 10 talents was not sufficiently justified, since the official documents just referred that the money was spent for a "very serious purpose". Nevertheless, within just a year, in 429 BC, the Athenians not only forgave Pericles but also re-elected him as strategos. Thucydides’ accounts of the plague of Athens that have survived are recorded in his work History of the Peloponnesian War, which is considered one of the greatest pieces of literature from ancient Greece. The Spartan army was at this time gathered at Corinth, and, citing this as a hostile action, the Athenians refused to admit their emissaries.  Kagan estimates Pericles' expenditure on his military strategy in the Peloponnesian War to be about 2,000 talents annually, and based on this figure concludes that he would have only enough money to keep the war going for three years. A Critical Analysis of Athenian Democracy, Ash, Thomas. Pericles had such a profound influence on Athenian society that he was acclaimed by Thucydides, a contemporary historian, as "the first citizen of Athens".  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 Athenian general and histo … Vlachos underlines, however, that the defeat of Athens could entail a much more ruthless Spartan empire, something that did indeed happen. In 447 BC the oligarchs of Thebes conspired against the democratic faction. During the autumn of 431 BC, Pericles led the Athenian forces that invaded Megara and a few months later (winter of 431–430 BC) he delivered his monumental and emotional Funeral Oration, honoring the Athenians who died for their city.. Such measures impelled Pericles' critics to hold him responsible for the gradual degeneration of the Athenian democracy. Pericles’ Funeral Oration Why do we fight wars if they just cause death and sorrow? , 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". His decree was passed but rescinded the next day, in time to save Mytilene. In 429 B.C. Pericles quickly seized the helm, organizing democratic institutions throughout the city and in 461 becoming the ruler of Athens—a title he would hold until his death. Pericles promoted the arts and literature, and it is principally through his efforts that Athens acquired the reputation of being the educational and cultural center of the ancient Greek world. Worsted in the war, the Milesians came to Athens to plead their case against the Samians. Finally, there were relations involving irreverence: some later and less trustworthy sources made much of several trials for impiety in which those close to him were involved, and this raises the question of religious tolerance in fifth-century Athens and, in particular, how far individuals enjoyed freedom of thought when faced with the civic community. Euboea and Megara revolted. He rea… "Pericles' Funeral Oration from the Peloponnesian War (Book 2.34-46)." , Gorgias, in Plato's homonymous dialogue, uses Pericles as an example of powerful oratory. Ioannis Kakridis and Arnold Gomme were two scholars who debated the originality of Pericles' oratory and last speech. As a result of Sparta’s superiority on land during the Peloponnesian wars, Pericles ordered the retreat of Athenians into the city walls of Athens. [γ], According to Herodotus and Plutarch, Agariste dreamed, a few nights before Pericles' birth, that she had borne a lion.  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 BC. leaving Athens without a general, and to fend for themselves.  When the Samians revolted against Athenian rule, Pericles compelled the rebels to capitulate after a tough siege of eight months, which resulted in substantial discontent among the Athenian sailors. [κ] On the other hand, in one of his dialogues, Plato rejects the glorification of Pericles and declares: "as I know, Pericles made the Athenians slothful, garrulous and avaricious, by starting the system of public fees".  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. Athens reached the pinnacle of Celebrity.  His judgement is not unquestioned; some 20th-century critics, such as Malcolm F. McGregor and John S. Morrison, proposed that he may have been a charismatic public face acting as an advocate on the proposals of advisors, or the people themselves.  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. Thucydides was an Athenian general and historian who recorded the events of the plague of Athens. , In the spring of 472 BC, Pericles presented The Persians of Aeschylus at the Greater Dionysia as a liturgy, demonstrating that he was one of the wealthier men of Athens. Being 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". Pericles crossed over to Euboea with his troops, but was forced to return when the Spartan army invaded Attica.  Donald Kagan called the Periclean strategy "a form of wishful thinking that failed", Barry S. Strauss and Josiah Ober have stated that "as strategist he was a failure and deserves a share of the blame for Athens' great defeat", and Victor Davis Hanson believes that Pericles had not worked out a clear strategy for an effective offensive action that could possibly force Thebes or Sparta to stop the war. Like today’s conspiratorial claims about the origin of the current COVID-19 virus, we must always be careful of fake news, ancient or modern – whether it is Spartan-poisoned wells (cf. 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 Pericles.  Therefore, he did not hesitate to send troops to Corcyra to reinforce the Corcyraean fleet, which was fighting against Corinth. Ioannis Kalitsounakis argues that "no reader can overlook the sumptuous rythme of the Funeral Oration as a whole and the singular correlation between the impetuous emotion and the marvellous style, attributes of speech that Thucydides ascribes to no other orator but Pericles".  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. Significance of Pericles' Death Uploaded by willus on Oct 23, 2002. During the Second Sacred War Pericles led the Athenian army against Delphi and reinstated Phocis in its sovereign rights on the oracle. Anaxagoras, in particular, became a close friend and influenced him greatly. For most, the move meant abandoning their land and ancestral shrines and completely changing their lifestyle. In 430 BC, the army of Sparta looted Attica for a second time, but Pericles was not daunted and refused to revise his initial strategy.  Beloch also believes that Pericles deliberately brought on the war to protect his political position at home.  He, along with several members of his family, succumbed to the Plague of Athens in 429 BC, which weakened the city-state during a protracted conflict with Sparta. Later that year, Pericles himself also died of the plague. Just before his death, Pericles' friends were concentrated around his bed, enumerating his virtues during peace and underscoring his nine war trophies. Paparrigopoulos maintains that an unprecedented regression descended upon the city, whose glory perished as a result of Pericles' populist policies.  With Boeotia in hostile hands, Phocis and Locris became untenable and quickly fell under the control of hostile oligarchs.  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. , In the spring of 449 BC, Pericles proposed the Congress Decree, which led to a meeting ("Congress") of all Greek states to consider the question of rebuilding the temples destroyed by the Persians. Vlachos criticizes the historian for this omission and maintains that Thucydides' admiration for the Athenian statesman makes him ignore not only the well-grounded accusations against him but also the mere gossips, namely the allegation that Pericles had corrupted the volatile rabble, so as to assert himself. That is to say, Thucydides could simply have used two different writing styles for two different purposes.  In that year, however, Pericles witnessed the death of both his legitimate sons from his first wife, Paralus and Xanthippus, in the epidemic. For example, he would often avoid banquets, trying to be frugal.  Gomme rejects Kakridis's position, defending the fact that "Nobody of men has ever been so conscious of envy and its workings as the Greeks, and that the Greeks and Thucydides in particular had a passion for covering all ground in their generalizations, not always relevantly.  If this was so, Pericles must have taken up a position of leadership by the early 460s BC – in his early or mid-thirties.  After all, Cimon finally accepted the new democracy and did not oppose the citizenship law, after he returned from exile in 451 BC.. [ε], In a naval battle the Athenians led by Pericles and nine other generals defeated the forces of Samos and imposed on the island an Athenian administration. His early years were quiet; the introverted young Pericles avoided public appearances, instead preferring to devote his time to his studies.  It is a popular conclusion that those succeeding him lacked his abilities and character. Kakridis believes that Thucydides altered Pericles words. 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. The very existence of the treaty is hotly disputed, and its particulars and negotiation are ambiguous. He suffered from plague and breathed his last in 429 B.C. Agariste was the great-granddaughter of the tyrant o… , His family's nobility and wealth allowed him to fully pursue his inclination toward education. Unfortunately, when the plague reached Athens, this meant that with a large amount of people in the confined space of the city walls, it spread rapidly.  He based his military policy on Themistocles' principle that Athens' predominance depends on its superior naval power and believed that the Peloponnesians were near-invincible on land. Pericles, following Athenian custom, was first married to one of his closest relatives, with whom he had two sons, Paralus and Xanthippus, but around 445 BC, Pericles divorced his wife. In tht same year, Pericles fell ill and died in the autumn. , John Fine, in contrast, suggests that the first peace between Athens and Persia was concluded in 450–449 BC, due to Pericles' calculation that ongoing conflict with Persia was undermining Athens' ability to spread its influence in Greece and the Aegean. According to the provisions of the decree, Megarian merchants were excluded from the market of Athens and the ports in its empire. Trace your ancestry to find out. Pericles was born in Athens, in 495 BCE, to an aristocratic family. Through bribery and negotiations, Pericles defused the imminent threat, and the Spartans returned home.  Therefore, although they agreed to leave, many rural residents were far from happy with Pericles' decision. Pericles.  In the summer of the same year an epidemic broke out and devastated the Athenians. Pericles is an average height gladiator with dark skin and long dreadlocks.  Kagan believes that Pericles used Callias, a brother-in-law of Cimon, as a symbol of unity and employed him several times to negotiate important agreements. The obvious purpose of these proposals was the instigation of a confrontation between Pericles and the people; this event, indeed, would come about a few years later. Anthony J. Podlecki argues, however, that Pericles' alleged change of position was invented by ancient writers to support "a tendentious view of Pericles' shiftiness".  Some historians think that he wanted to prompt a confederation with the participation of all the Greek cities; others think he wanted to assert Athenian pre-eminence. , In 461 BC, Pericles achieved the political elimination of this opponent using ostracism. , 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. During the same period, Pericles proposed the Megarian decree, which resembled a modern trade embargo. Significance of Pericles' Death The death of Pericles was a significant event in the course of the Peloponnesian War; however, even without Pericles' leadership the Athenian Assembly had countless opportunities to … Pericles made his first military excursions during the First Peloponnesian War, which was caused in part by Athens' alliance with Megara and Argos and the subsequent reaction of Sparta. , By 450–449 BC the revolts in Miletus and Erythrae were quelled and Athens restored its rule over its allies. 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.  The freedom of expression is regarded as the lasting legacy deriving from this period.  His stance was greeted with applause, and Thucydides was soundly, if unexpectedly, defeated. According to the most stringent provision of the decree, even proposing a different use of the money or ships would entail the penalty of death.  Ernst Badian believes that a peace between Athens and Persia was first ratified in 463 BC (making the Athenian interventions in Egypt and Cyprus violations of the peace), and renegotiated at the conclusion of the campaign in Cyprus, taking force again by 449–448 BC. ), Cimon, in contrast, apparently believed that no further free space for democratic evolution existed. It is not known what caused his death – plague or grief. Pericles was faced with a tough task, to speak at a large funeral of war victims, where the people are not going be in a positive state of mind at all. A common criticism is that Pericles was always a better politician and orator than strategist.  In 451–450 BC the Athenians sent troops to Cyprus. , Beyond these initial prosecutions, the ecclesia attacked Pericles himself by asking him to justify his ostensible profligacy with, and maladministration of, public money. Pericles was born in 495 BCE into one of the leading families of Athens, with his father Xanthippus who had a political career and was a hero of the Persian war and his mother belonging to a powerful family. The Acropolis, though in ruins, still stands and is a symbol of modern Athens. the Sicilian Expedition. , Complicating the account of this period is the issue of the Peace of Callias, which allegedly ended hostilities between the Greeks and the Persians. 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. Sophocles also has the plague as the centerpiece of his play Oedipus the King. However, as he is generally regarded as an admirer of Pericles, Thucydides has been criticized for bias against Sparta.  Another consideration that may well have influenced Pericles' stance was the concern that revolts in the empire might spread if Athens showed itself weak. Two major events coincide with the beginning and end of Pericles’ rule – the Persian and Peloponnesian wars respectively. Although Thucydides does not describe the cause of Pericles’ subsequent death in 429 BCE, his readers would have been aware that the general himself died of the plague. , Ancient Greek writers call Pericles "Olympian" and extol his talents; referring to him "thundering and lightning and exciting Greece" and carrying the weapons of Zeus when orating. , The causes of the Peloponnesian War have been much debated, but many ancient historians lay the blame on Pericles and Athens.  According to Platias and Koliopoulos, Athens as the strongest party did not have to beat Sparta in military terms and "chose to foil the Spartan plan for victory". PERICLES What now ensues, to the judgment of your eye I give my cause, who best can justify.
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