Pericles

Pericles

Overview
Pericles was a prominent and influential statesman
Statesman
A statesman is usually a politician or other notable public figure who has had a long and respected career in politics or government at the national and international level. As a term of respect, it is usually left to supporters or commentators to use the term...

, orator, and general of Athens
History of Athens
Athens is one of the oldest named cities in the world, having been continuously inhabited for at least 7000 years. Situated in southern Europe, Athens became the leading city of Ancient Greece in the first millennium BCE and its cultural achievements during the 5th century BCE laid the foundations...

 during the city's Golden Age
Age of Pericles
Fifth-century Athens refers to the Greek city-state of Athens in the period of roughly 480 BC-404 BC. This was a period of Athenian political hegemony, economic growth and cultural flourishing formerly known as the Golden Age of Athens or The Age of Pericles. The period began in 480 BC when an...

—specifically, the time between the Persian
Greco-Persian Wars
The Greco-Persian Wars were a series of conflicts between the Achaemenid Empire of Persia and city-states of the Hellenic world that started in 499 BC and lasted until 449 BC. The collision between the fractious political world of the Greeks and the enormous empire of the Persians began when Cyrus...

 and Peloponnesian
Peloponnesian War
The Peloponnesian War, 431 to 404 BC, was an ancient Greek war fought by Athens and its empire against the Peloponnesian League led by Sparta. Historians have traditionally divided the war into three phases...

 wars. He was descended, through his mother, from the powerful and historically influential Alcmaeonid
Alcmaeonidae
The Alcmaeonidae or Alcmaeonids were a powerful noble family of ancient Athens, a branch of the Neleides who claimed descent from the mythological Alcmaeon, the great-grandson of Nestor....

 family.

Pericles had such a profound influence on Athenian society that Thucydides
Thucydides
Thucydides was a Greek historian and author from Alimos. His History of the Peloponnesian War recounts the 5th century BC war between Sparta and Athens to the year 411 BC...

, his contemporary historian, acclaimed him as "the first citizen of Athens".
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Quotations

Nor is it any longer possible for you to give up this empire ... Your empire is now like a tyranny: it may have been wrong to take it; it is certainly dangerous to let it go.

On the eve of war, as quoted in History of the Peloponnesian War by Thucydides

But the bravest are surely those who have the clearest vision of what is before them, glory and danger alike, and yet notwithstanding go out to meet it.

Pericles' Funeral Oration as quoted in History of the Peloponnesian War by Thucydides

The whole Earth is the Sepulchre of famous men; and their story is not graven only on Stone over their native earth, but lives on far away, without visible symbol, woven into the stuff of other men's lives.

As quoted in A Brief and True report concerning Williamsburg in Virginia by Rutherford Goodwin (1941), p. 125

Although only a few may originate a policy, we are all able to judge it.

As quoted in The Open Society and Its Enemies by Karl Popper (1966)

What you leave behind is not what is engraved in stone monuments, but what is woven into the lives of others.

As quoted in Flicker to Flame : Living with Purpose, Meaning, and Happiness (2006) by Jeffrey Thompson Parker, p. 118
Encyclopedia
Pericles was a prominent and influential statesman
Statesman
A statesman is usually a politician or other notable public figure who has had a long and respected career in politics or government at the national and international level. As a term of respect, it is usually left to supporters or commentators to use the term...

, orator, and general of Athens
History of Athens
Athens is one of the oldest named cities in the world, having been continuously inhabited for at least 7000 years. Situated in southern Europe, Athens became the leading city of Ancient Greece in the first millennium BCE and its cultural achievements during the 5th century BCE laid the foundations...

 during the city's Golden Age
Age of Pericles
Fifth-century Athens refers to the Greek city-state of Athens in the period of roughly 480 BC-404 BC. This was a period of Athenian political hegemony, economic growth and cultural flourishing formerly known as the Golden Age of Athens or The Age of Pericles. The period began in 480 BC when an...

—specifically, the time between the Persian
Greco-Persian Wars
The Greco-Persian Wars were a series of conflicts between the Achaemenid Empire of Persia and city-states of the Hellenic world that started in 499 BC and lasted until 449 BC. The collision between the fractious political world of the Greeks and the enormous empire of the Persians began when Cyrus...

 and Peloponnesian
Peloponnesian War
The Peloponnesian War, 431 to 404 BC, was an ancient Greek war fought by Athens and its empire against the Peloponnesian League led by Sparta. Historians have traditionally divided the war into three phases...

 wars. He was descended, through his mother, from the powerful and historically influential Alcmaeonid
Alcmaeonidae
The Alcmaeonidae or Alcmaeonids were a powerful noble family of ancient Athens, a branch of the Neleides who claimed descent from the mythological Alcmaeon, the great-grandson of Nestor....

 family.

Pericles had such a profound influence on Athenian society that Thucydides
Thucydides
Thucydides was a Greek historian and author from Alimos. His History of the Peloponnesian War recounts the 5th century BC war between Sparta and Athens to the year 411 BC...

, his contemporary historian, acclaimed him as "the first citizen of Athens". Pericles turned the Delian League
Delian League
The Delian League, founded in circa 477 BC, was an association of Greek city-states, members numbering between 150 to 173, under the leadership of Athens, whose purpose was to continue fighting the Persian Empire after the Greek victory in the Battle of Plataea at the end of the Greco–Persian Wars...

 into an Athenian empire and led his countrymen during the first two years of the Peloponnesian War. The period during which he led Athens, roughly from 461 to 429 BC, is sometimes known as the "Age of Pericles
Age of Pericles
Fifth-century Athens refers to the Greek city-state of Athens in the period of roughly 480 BC-404 BC. This was a period of Athenian political hegemony, economic growth and cultural flourishing formerly known as the Golden Age of Athens or The Age of Pericles. The period began in 480 BC when an...

", though the period thus denoted can include times as early as the Persian Wars, or as late as the next century.

Pericles promoted the arts and literature; this was a chief reason Athens holds the reputation of being the educational and cultural centre of the ancient Greek
Ancient Greece
Ancient Greece is a civilization belonging to a period of Greek history that lasted from the Archaic period of the 8th to 6th centuries BC to the end of antiquity. Immediately following this period was the beginning of the Early Middle Ages and the Byzantine era. Included in Ancient Greece is the...

 world. He started an ambitious project that built most of the surviving structures on the Acropolis
Acropolis of Athens
The Acropolis of Athens or Citadel of Athens is the best known acropolis in the world. Although there are many other acropoleis in Greece, the significance of the Acropolis of Athens is such that it is commonly known as The Acropolis without qualification...

 (including the Parthenon
Parthenon
The Parthenon is a temple on the Athenian Acropolis, Greece, dedicated to the Greek goddess Athena, whom the people of Athens considered their virgin patron. Its construction began in 447 BC when the Athenian Empire was at the height of its power. It was completed in 438 BC, although...

). This project beautified the city, exhibited its glory, and gave work to the people. Furthermore, Pericles fostered Athenian democracy
Athenian democracy
Athenian democracy developed in the Greek city-state of Athens, comprising the central city-state of Athens and the surrounding territory of Attica, around 508 BC. Athens is one of the first known democracies. Other Greek cities set up democracies, and even though most followed an Athenian model,...

 to such an extent that critics call him a populist
Populism
Populism can be defined as an ideology, political philosophy, or type of discourse. Generally, a common theme compares "the people" against "the elite", and urges social and political system changes. It can also be defined as a rhetorical style employed by members of various political or social...

.

Early years


Pericles was born in 495 BC, in the deme
Deme
In Ancient Greece, a deme or demos was a subdivision of Attica, the region of Greece surrounding Athens. Demes as simple subdivisions of land in the countryside seem to have existed in the 6th century BC and earlier, but did not acquire particular significance until the reforms of Cleisthenes in...

 of Cholargos
Cholargos
Cholargos is a suburb of Athens, Greece, located northeast of the city center and about 6 kilometers away from Syntagma square. Since the 2011 local government reform it is part of the municipality Papagou-Cholargos, of which it is the seat and a municipal unit.It is accessed by Messogion Avenue...

 just north of Athens. He was the son of the politician Xanthippus
Xanthippus
Xanthippus was a Greek mercenary general hired by the Carthaginians to aid in their war against the Romans during the First Punic War...

, who, although ostracized in 485–484 BC, returned to Athens to command the Athenian contingent in the Greek victory at Mycale
Battle of Mycale
The Battle of Mycale was one of the two major battles that ended the second Persian invasion of Greece during the Greco-Persian Wars. It took place on or about August 27, 479 BC on the slopes of Mount Mycale, on the coast of Ionia, opposite the island of Samos...

 just five years later. Pericles' mother, Agariste, a scion of the powerful and controversial noble family of the Alcmaeonidae
Alcmaeonidae
The Alcmaeonidae or Alcmaeonids were a powerful noble family of ancient Athens, a branch of the Neleides who claimed descent from the mythological Alcmaeon, the great-grandson of Nestor....

, and her familial connections played a crucial role in starting Xanthippus' political career. Agariste was the great-granddaughter of the tyrant of Sicyon
Sicyon
Sikyon was an ancient Greek city situated in the northern Peloponnesus between Corinth and Achaea on the territory of the present-day prefecture of Corinthia...

, Cleisthenes
Cleisthenes of Sicyon
Cleisthenes was the tyrant of Sicyon from c. 600–570 BC, who aided in the First Sacred War against Kirrha that destroyed that city in 595 BC. He is also told to have organized with success a war against Argos because of his anti-Dorian feelings...

, and the niece of the supreme Athenian reformer Cleisthenes
Cleisthenes
Cleisthenes was a noble Athenian of the Alcmaeonid family. He is credited with reforming the constitution of ancient Athens and setting it on a democratic footing in 508/7 BC...

, another Alcmaeonid. According to Herodotus
Herodotus
Herodotus was an ancient Greek historian who was born in Halicarnassus, Caria and lived in the 5th century BC . He has been called the "Father of History", and was the first historian known to collect his materials systematically, test their accuracy to a certain extent and arrange them in a...

 and Plutarch
Plutarch
Plutarch then named, on his becoming a Roman citizen, Lucius Mestrius Plutarchus , c. 46 – 120 AD, was a Greek historian, biographer, essayist, and Middle Platonist known primarily for his Parallel Lives and Moralia...

, Agariste dreamed, a few nights before Pericles' birth, that she had borne a lion. One interpretation of the anecdote treats the lion as a traditional symbol of greatness, but the story may also allude to the unusual size of Pericles' skull, which became a popular target of contemporary comedians (who called him "Squill-head", after the Squill or Sea-Onion). (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
Strategos
Strategos, plural strategoi, is used in Greek to mean "general". In the Hellenistic and Byzantine Empires the term was also used to describe a military governor...

 (general)).
"Our polity does not copy the laws of neighboring states; we are rather a pattern to others than imitators ourselves. It is called a democracy, because not the few but the many govern. If we look to the laws, they afford equal justice to all in their private differences; if to 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."
Pericles' Funeral Oration as recorded by Thucydides, 2.37; Thucydides disclaims verbal accuracy.


Pericles belonged to the local tribe
Tribe
A tribe, viewed historically or developmentally, consists of a social group existing before the development of, or outside of, states.Many anthropologists use the term tribal society to refer to societies organized largely on the basis of kinship, especially corporate descent groups .Some theorists...

 of Acamantis . His early years were quiet; the introverted young Pericles took to avoiding public appearances, instead preferring to devote his time to his studies.

His family's nobility and wealth allowed him to fully pursue his inclination toward education. He learned music from the masters of the time (Damon
Damon (ancient Greek musicologist)
Damon, son of Damonides, was a Greek musicologist of the fifth century BC. He belonged to the Athenian deme of Oē . He is credited as teacher and advisor of Pericles.-Music:...

 or Pythocleides could have been his teacher) and he is considered to have been the first politician to attribute great importance to philosophy
Philosophy
Philosophy is the study of general and fundamental problems, such as those connected with existence, knowledge, values, reason, mind, and language. Philosophy is distinguished from other ways of addressing such problems by its critical, generally systematic approach and its reliance on rational...

. He enjoyed the company of the philosophers Protagoras
Protagoras
Protagoras was a pre-Socratic Greek philosopher and is numbered as one of the sophists by Plato. In his dialogue Protagoras, Plato credits him with having invented the role of the professional sophist or teacher of virtue...

, Zeno of Elea
Zeno of Elea
Zeno of Elea was a pre-Socratic Greek philosopher of southern Italy and a member of the Eleatic School founded by Parmenides. Aristotle called him the inventor of the dialectic. He is best known for his paradoxes, which Bertrand Russell has described as "immeasurably subtle and profound".- Life...

 and Anaxagoras
Anaxagoras
Anaxagoras was a Pre-Socratic Greek philosopher. Born in Clazomenae in Asia Minor, Anaxagoras was the first philosopher to bring philosophy from Ionia to Athens. He attempted to give a scientific account of eclipses, meteors, rainbows, and the sun, which he described as a fiery mass larger than...

. Anaxagoras in particular became a close friend and influenced him greatly. 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. His proverbial calmness and self-control are also regarded as products of Anaxagoras' influence.

Entering politics


In the spring of 472 BC, Pericles presented the Persae of Aeschylus
Aeschylus
Aeschylus was the first of the three ancient Greek tragedians whose work has survived, the others being Sophocles and Euripides, and is often described as the father of tragedy. His name derives from the Greek word aiskhos , meaning "shame"...

 at the Greater Dionysia as a liturgy
Liturgy
Liturgy is either the customary public worship done by a specific religious group, according to its particular traditions or a more precise term that distinguishes between those religious groups who believe their ritual requires the "people" to do the "work" of responding to the priest, and those...

, demonstrating that he was one of the wealthier men of Athens. Simon Hornblower has argued that Pericles' selection of this play, which presents a nostalgic picture of Themistocles
Themistocles
Themistocles ; c. 524–459 BC, was an Athenian politician and a general. He was one of a new breed of politicians who rose to prominence in the early years of the Athenian democracy, along with his great rival Aristides...

' famous victory at Salamis
Battle of Salamis
The Battle of Salamis was fought between an Alliance of Greek city-states and the Persian Empire in September 480 BCE, in the straits between the mainland and Salamis, an island in the Saronic Gulf near Athens...

, shows that the young politician was supporting Themistocles against his political opponent Cimon, whose faction succeeded in having Themistocles ostracized shortly afterwards.

Plutarch says that Pericles stood first among the Athenians for forty years. If this was so, Pericles must have taken up a position of leadership by the early 460s BC- in his early or mid thirties. Throughout these years he endeavored to protect his privacy and tried to present himself as a model for his fellow citizens. For example, he would often avoid banquets, trying to be frugal.

In 463 BC Pericles was the leading prosecutor of Cimon, the leader of the conservative faction, who was accused of neglecting Athens' vital interests in Macedon
Macedon
Macedonia or Macedon was an ancient kingdom, centered in the northeastern part of the Greek peninsula, bordered by Epirus to the west, Paeonia to the north, the region of Thrace to the east and Thessaly to the south....

. Although Cimon was acquitted, this confrontation proved that Pericles' major political opponent was vulnerable.

Ostracizing Cimon


Around 461 BC, the leadership of the democratic party decided it was time to take aim at the Areopagus
Areopagus
The Areopagus or Areios Pagos is the "Rock of Ares", north-west of the Acropolis, which in classical times functioned as the high Court of Appeal for criminal and civil cases in Athens. Ares was supposed to have been tried here by the gods for the murder of Poseidon's son Alirrothios .The origin...

, a traditional council controlled by the Athenian aristocracy, which had once been the most powerful body in the state. The leader of the party and mentor of Pericles, Ephialtes
Ephialtes of Athens
Ephialtes was an ancient Athenian politician and an early leader of the democratic movement there. In the late 460s BC, he oversaw reforms that diminished the power of the Areopagus, a traditional bastion of conservatism, and which are considered by many modern historians to mark the beginning of...

, proposed a sharp reduction of the Areopagus' powers. The Ecclesia
Ecclesia (ancient Athens)
The ecclesia or ekklesia was the principal assembly of the democracy of ancient Athens during its "Golden Age" . It was the popular assembly, opened to all male citizens over the age of 30 with 2 years of military service by Solon in 594 BC meaning that all classes of citizens in Athens were able...

 (the Athenian Assembly) adopted Ephialtes' proposal without strong opposition. This reform signalled the commencement of a new era of "radical democracy". The democratic party gradually became dominant in Athenian politics and Pericles seemed willing to follow a populist policy in order to cajole the public. According to Aristotle
Aristotle
Aristotle was a Greek philosopher and polymath, a student of Plato and teacher of Alexander the Great. His writings cover many subjects, including physics, metaphysics, poetry, theater, music, logic, rhetoric, linguistics, politics, government, ethics, biology, and zoology...

, Pericles' stance can be explained by the fact that his principal political opponent, Cimon, was rich and generous, and was able to secure public favor by lavishly bestowing his sizable personal fortune. The historian Loren J. Samons II argues, however, that Pericles had enough resources to make a political mark by private means, had he so chosen.

In 461 BC, Pericles achieved the political elimination of this formidable opponent using the weapon of ostracism. The ostensible accusation was that Cimon betrayed his city by acting as a friend of Sparta
Sparta
Sparta or Lacedaemon, was a prominent city-state in ancient Greece, situated on the banks of the River Eurotas in Laconia, in south-eastern Peloponnese. It emerged as a political entity around the 10th century BC, when the invading Dorians subjugated the local, non-Dorian population. From c...

.

Even after Cimon's ostracism, Pericles continued to espouse and promote a populist social policy. He first proposed a decree that permitted the poor to watch theatrical plays without paying, with the state covering the cost of their admission. With other decrees he lowered the property requirement for the archon
Archon
Archon is a Greek word that means "ruler" or "lord", frequently used as the title of a specific public office. It is the masculine present participle of the verb stem ἀρχ-, meaning "to rule", derived from the same root as monarch, hierarchy, and anarchy.- Ancient Greece :In ancient Greece the...

ship in 458–457 BC and bestowed generous wages on all citizens who served as jurymen in the Heliaia
Heliaia
Heliaia or Heliaea was the supreme court of ancient Athens. Τhe view generally held among scholars is that the court drew its name from the ancient Greek verb , which means , namely congregate. Another version is that the court took its name from the fact that the hearings were taking place...

 (the supreme court of Athens) some time just after 454 BC. His most controversial measure, however, was a law of 451 BC limiting Athenian citizenship to those of Athenian parentage on both sides.
"Rather, the admiration of the present and succeeding ages will be ours, since we have not left our power without witness, but have shown it by mighty proofs; and far from needing a Homer for our panegyrist, or other of his craft whose verses might charm for the moment only for the impression which they gave to melt at the touch of fact, we have forced every sea and land to be the highway of our daring, and everywhere, whether for evil or for good, have left imperishable monuments behind us."
Pericles' Funeral Oration as recorded by Thucydides (II, 41)


Such measures impelled Pericles' critics to regard him as responsible for the gradual degeneration of the Athenian democracy. Constantine Paparrigopoulos
Constantine Paparregopoulus
Constantine Paparrigopoulos is considered the founder of modern Greek historiography. He analysed Greek history from ancient to the present as a continuous history in his multi-volume History of the Greek Nation, and is also known for his original research in Byzantine history as well as in...

, a major modern Greek historian, argues that Pericles sought for the expansion and stabilization of all democratic institutions. Hence, he enacted legislation granting the lower classes access to the political system and the public offices, from which they had previously been barred on account of limited means or humble birth. According to Samons, Pericles believed that it was necessary to raise the demos, in which he saw an untapped source of Athenian power and the crucial element of Athenian military dominance. (The fleet, backbone of Athenian power since the days of Themistocles, was manned almost entirely by members of the lower classes.)

Cimon, on the other hand, apparently believed that no further free space for democratic evolution existed. He was certain that democracy had reached its peak and Pericles' reforms were leading to the stalemate of populism. According to Paparrigopoulos, history vindicated Cimon, because Athens, after Pericles' death, sank into the abyss of political turmoil and demagogy. Paparrigopoulos maintains that an unprecedented regression descended upon the city, whose glory perished as a result of Pericles' populist policies. According to another historian, Justin Daniel King, radical democracy benefited people individually, but harmed the state. On the other hand, Donald Kagan
Donald Kagan
Donald Kagan is an American historian at Yale University specializing in ancient Greece, notable for his four-volume history of the Peloponnesian War. 1987-1988 Acting Director of Athletics, Yale University. He was Dean of Yale College from 1989–1992. He formerly taught in the Department of...

 asserts that the democratic measures Pericles put into effect provided the basis for an unassailable political strength. After all, Cimon finally accepted the new democracy and did not oppose the citizenship law, after he returned from exile in 451 BC.

Leading Athens


Ephialtes' murder in 461 BC paved the way for Pericles to consolidate his authority. Lacking any robust opposition after the expulsion of Cimon, the unchallengeable leader of the democratic party became the unchallengeable ruler of Athens. He remained in power almost uninterruptedly until his death in 429 BC.

First Peloponnesian War



Pericles made his first military excursions during the First Peloponnesian War, which was caused in part by Athens' alliance with Megara
Megara
Megara is an ancient city in Attica, Greece. It lies in the northern section of the Isthmus of Corinth opposite the island of Salamis, which belonged to Megara in archaic times, before being taken by Athens. Megara was one of the four districts of Attica, embodied in the four mythic sons of King...

 and Argos
Argos
Argos is a city and a former municipality in Argolis, Peloponnese, Greece. Since the 2011 local government reform it is part of the municipality Argos-Mykines, of which it is a municipal unit. It is 11 kilometres from Nafplion, which was its historic harbour...

 and the subsequent reaction of Sparta. In 454 BC he attacked Sicyon
Sicyon
Sikyon was an ancient Greek city situated in the northern Peloponnesus between Corinth and Achaea on the territory of the present-day prefecture of Corinthia...

 and Acarnania
Acarnania
Acarnania is a region of west-central Greece that lies along the Ionian Sea, west of Aetolia, with the Achelous River for a boundary, and north of the gulf of Calydon, which is the entrance to the Gulf of Corinth. Today it forms the western part of the prefecture of Aetolia-Acarnania. The capital...

. He then unsuccessfully tried to take Oeniadea on the Corinthian gulf, before returning to Athens. In 451 BC, Cimon is said to have 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. Pericles may have realized the importance of Cimon's contribution during the ongoing conflicts against the Peloponnesians and the Persians. Anthony J. Podlecki argues, however, that Pericles' alleged change of position was invented by ancient writers to support "a tendentious view of Pericles' shiftiness".

Plutarch states that Cimon struck a power-sharing deal with his opponents, according to which Pericles would carry through the interior affairs and Cimon would be the leader of the Athenian army, campaigning abroad. If it was actually made, this bargain would constitute a concession on Pericles' part that he was not a great strategist. Kagan believes that Cimon adapted himself to the new conditions and promoted a political marriage between Periclean liberals and Cimonian conservatives.

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
Nile
The Nile is a major north-flowing river in North Africa, generally regarded as the longest river in the world. It is long. It runs through the ten countries of Sudan, South Sudan, Burundi, Rwanda, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Tanzania, Kenya, Ethiopia, Uganda and Egypt.The Nile has two major...

 Delta. The campaign culminated in a disaster on a very large scale; the besieging force was defeated and destroyed. In 451–450 BC the Athenians sent troops to Cyprus
Cyprus
Cyprus , officially the Republic of Cyprus , is a Eurasian island country, member of the European Union, in the Eastern Mediterranean, east of Greece, south of Turkey, west of Syria and north of Egypt. It is the third largest island in the Mediterranean Sea.The earliest known human activity on the...

. Cimon defeated the Persians in the Battle of Salamis-in-Cyprus, but died of disease in 449 BC. Pericles is said to have initiated both expeditions in Egypt and Cyprus, although some researchers, such as Karl Julius Beloch
Karl Julius Beloch
Karl Julius Beloch was a German classical and economic historian.In 1870 he moved to Italy for health reasons, where he subsequently studied in Palermo and Rome. In 1875 he received his doctorate from the University of Heidelberg...

, argue that the dispatch of such a great fleet conforms with the spirit of Cimon's policy.

Complicating the account of this complex period is the issue of the Peace of Callias
Peace of Callias
The Peace of Callias is a purported treaty established around 449 BC between the Delian League and Persia, ending the Persian Wars. The peace was agreed as the first compromise treaty between Achaemenid Persia and a Greek city....

, which allegedly ended hostilities between the Greeks and the Persians. The very existence of the treaty is hotly disputed, and its particulars and negotiation are equally ambiguous. 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. John Fine, on the other hand, suggests that the first peace between Athens and Persia was concluded in 450–449 BC, as a result of Pericles' strategic calculation that ongoing conflict with Persia was undermining Athens' ability to spread its influence in Greece and the Aegean
Aegean Sea
The Aegean Sea[p] is an elongated embayment of the Mediterranean Sea located between the southern Balkan and Anatolian peninsulas, i.e., between the mainlands of Greece and Turkey. In the north, it is connected to the Marmara Sea and Black Sea by the Dardanelles and Bosporus...

. Kagan believes that Pericles used Callias
Callias
Callias was the head of a wealthy Athenian family, and fought at the Battle of Marathon in priestly attire. His son, Hipponicus, was also a military commander...

, a brother-in-law of Cimon, as a symbol of unity and employed him several times to negotiate important agreements.

In the spring of 449 BC, Pericles proposed the Congress Decree, which led to a meeting ("Congress") of all Greek states in order to consider the question of rebuilding the temples destroyed by the Persians. The Congress failed because of Sparta's stance, but Pericles' real intentions remain unclear. Some historians think that he wanted to prompt some kind of confederation with the participation of all the Greek cities; others think he wanted to assert Athenian pre-eminence. According to the historian Terry Buckley the objective of the Congress Decree was a new mandate for the Delian League
Delian League
The Delian League, founded in circa 477 BC, was an association of Greek city-states, members numbering between 150 to 173, under the leadership of Athens, whose purpose was to continue fighting the Persian Empire after the Greek victory in the Battle of Plataea at the end of the Greco–Persian Wars...

 and for the collection of "phoros" (taxes).
"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' Third Oration according to Thucydides (II, 64)


During the Second Sacred War
Second Sacred War
The Second Sacred War took place between 449 BC-448 BC and resulted in an indirect confrontation between Athens and Sparta during the so-called First Peloponnesian War....

 Pericles led the Athenian army against Delphi
Delphi
Delphi is both an archaeological site and a modern town in Greece on the south-western spur of Mount Parnassus in the valley of Phocis.In Greek mythology, Delphi was the site of the Delphic oracle, the most important oracle in the classical Greek world, and a major site for the worship of the god...

 and reinstated Phocis
Phocis
Phocis is one of the regional units of Greece. It is part of the administrative region of Central Greece. It stretches from the western mountainsides of Parnassus on the east to the mountain range of Vardousia on the west, upon the Gulf of Corinth...

 in its sovereign rights on the oracle
Oracle
In Classical Antiquity, an oracle was a person or agency considered to be a source of wise counsel or prophetic predictions or precognition of the future, inspired by the gods. As such it is a form of divination....

. In 447 BC Pericles engaged in his most admired excursion, the expulsion of barbarians from the Thracian peninsula of Gallipoli
Gallipoli
The Gallipoli peninsula is located in Turkish Thrace , the European part of Turkey, with the Aegean Sea to the west and the Dardanelles straits to the east. Gallipoli derives its name from the Greek "Καλλίπολις" , meaning "Beautiful City"...

, in order to establish Athenian colonists in the region. At this time, however, Athens was seriously challenged by a number of revolts among its allies (or, to be more accurate, its subjects). In 447 BC the oligarchs of Thebes
Thebes, Greece
Thebes is a city in Greece, situated to the north of the Cithaeron range, which divides Boeotia from Attica, and on the southern edge of the Boeotian plain. It played an important role in Greek myth, as the site of the stories of Cadmus, Oedipus, Dionysus and others...

 conspired against the democratic faction. The Athenians demanded their immediate surrender, but, after the Battle of Coronea
Battle of Coronea (447 BC)
The Battle of Coronea took place between the Athenian-led Delian League and the Boeotian League in 447 BC during the First Peloponnesian War....

, Pericles was forced to concede the loss of Boeotia in order to recover the prisoners taken in that battle. With Boeotia in hostile hands, Phocis and Locris became untenable and quickly fell under the control of hostile oligarchs. In 446 BC, a more dangerous uprising erupted. Euboea
Euboea
Euboea is the second largest Greek island in area and population, after Crete. The narrow Euripus Strait separates it from Boeotia in mainland Greece. In general outline it is a long and narrow, seahorse-shaped island; it is about long, and varies in breadth from to...

 and Megara
Megara
Megara is an ancient city in Attica, Greece. It lies in the northern section of the Isthmus of Corinth opposite the island of Salamis, which belonged to Megara in archaic times, before being taken by Athens. Megara was one of the four districts of Attica, embodied in the four mythic sons of King...

 revolted. Pericles crossed over to Euboea with his troops, but was forced to return when the Spartan army invaded Attica
Attica
Attica is a historical region of Greece, containing Athens, the current capital of Greece. The historical region is centered on the Attic peninsula, which projects into the Aegean Sea...

. Through bribery and negotiations, Pericles defused the imminent threat, and the Spartans returned home. 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". Nonetheless, the "serious purpose" (namely the bribery) was so obvious to the auditors that they approved the expenditure without official meddling and without even investigating the mystery. After the Spartan threat had been removed, Pericles crossed back to Euboea to crush the revolt there. He then inflicted a stringent punishment on the landowners of Chalcis
Chalcis
Chalcis or Chalkida , the chief town of the island of Euboea in Greece, is situated on the strait of the Evripos at its narrowest point. The name is preserved from antiquity and is derived from the Greek χαλκός , though there is no trace of any mines in the area...

, who lost their properties. The residents of Istiaia
Istiaia
Istiaia is a town and a former municipality in Euboea, Greece. Since the 2011 local government reform it is part of the municipality Istiaia-Aidipsos, of which it is the seat and a municipal unit. Its population is 7,353 . The town is located in the northern end of the island. It was a former...

, meanwhile, who had butchered the crew of an Athenian trireme
Trireme
A trireme was a type of galley, a Hellenistic-era warship that was used by the ancient maritime civilizations of the Mediterranean, especially the Phoenicians, ancient Greeks and Romans.The trireme derives its name from its three rows of oars on each side, manned with one man per oar...

, were uprooted and replaced by 2,000 Athenian settlers. The crisis was brought to an official end by the Thirty Years' Peace
Thirty Years' Peace
The Thirty Years' Peace was a treaty, signed between the ancient Greek city-states Athens and Sparta, in the year 446/445 BC. The treaty brought an end to the conflict commonly known as the First Peloponnesian War, which had been raging since c.460 BC....

 (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.

Final battle with the conservatives


In 444 BC, the conservative and the democratic factions confronted each other in a fierce struggle. The ambitious new leader of the conservatives, Thucydides
Thucydides (politician)
Thucydides was a prominent politician of ancient Athens and the leader for a number of years of the powerful conservative faction. While it is likely he is related to the later historian Thucydides son of Olorus, the details are uncertain; maternal grandfather and grandson fits the available...

 (not to be confused with the historian of the same name), accused Pericles of profligacy, criticizing the way he spent the money for the ongoing building plan. Thucydides managed, initially, to incite the passions of the ecclesia in his favor, but, when Pericles, the leader of the democrats, took the floor, he put the conservatives in the shade. Pericles responded resolutely, proposing to reimburse the city for all the expenses from his private property, under the term that he would make the inscriptions of dedication in his own name. His stance was greeted with applause, and Thucydides suffered an unexpected defeat. In 442 BC, the Athenian public ostracized Thucydides for 10 years and Pericles was once again the unchallenged suzerain of the Athenian political arena.


Athens' rule over its alliance


Pericles wanted to stabilize Athens' dominance over its alliance and to enforce its pre-eminence in Greece. 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. 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
Miletus
Miletus was an ancient Greek city on the western coast of Anatolia , near the mouth of the Maeander River in ancient Caria...

 and Erythrae
Erythrae
Erythrae or Erythrai later Litri, was one of the twelve Ionian cities of Asia Minor, situated 22 km north-east of the port of Cyssus , on a small peninsula stretching into the Bay of Erythrae, at an equal distance from the mountains Mimas and Corycus, and directly opposite the island of Chios...

. 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
Delos
The island of Delos , isolated in the centre of the roughly circular ring of islands called the Cyclades, near Mykonos, is one of the most important mythological, historical and archaeological sites in Greece...

 to Athens in 454–453 BC. By 450–449 BC the revolts in Miletus and Erythrae were quelled and Athens restored its rule over its allies. Around 447 BC Clearchus proposed the Coinage Decree, which imposed Athenian silver coinage, weights and measures on all of the allies. According to one of the decree's most stringent provisions, surplus from a minting operation was to go into a special fund, and anyone proposing to use it otherwise was subject to the death penalty.

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
Propylaea
A Propylaea, Propylea or Propylaia is any monumental gateway based on the original Propylaea that serves as the entrance to the Acropolis in Athens...

, the Parthenon and the golden statue of Athena, sculpted by Pericles' friend, Phidias
Phidias
Phidias or the great Pheidias , was a Greek sculptor, painter and architect, who lived in the 5th century BC, and is commonly regarded as one of the greatest of all sculptors of Classical Greece: Phidias' Statue of Zeus at Olympia was one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World...

. In 449 BC Pericles proposed a decree allowing the use of 9,000 talents to finance the major rebuilding program of Athenian temples. Angelos Vlachos, a Greek Academician
Academician
The title Academician denotes a Full Member of an art, literary, or scientific academy.In many countries, it is an honorary title. There also exists a lower-rank title, variously translated Corresponding Member or Associate Member, .-Eastern Europe and China:"Academician" may also be a functional...

, points out that the utilization of the alliance's treasury, initiated and executed by Pericles, is one of the largest embezzlements in human history; this misappropriation financed, however, some of the most marvellous artistic creations of the ancient world.

Samian War



The Samian War was one of the last significant military events before the Peloponnesian War. 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. In 440 BC Samos
Samos Island
Samos is a Greek island in the eastern Aegean Sea, south of Chios, north of Patmos and the Dodecanese, and off the coast of Asia Minor, from which it is separated by the -wide Mycale Strait. It is also a separate regional unit of the North Aegean region, and the only municipality of the regional...

 was at war with Miletus
Miletus
Miletus was an ancient Greek city on the western coast of Anatolia , near the mouth of the Maeander River in ancient Caria...

 over control of Priene
Priene
Priene was an ancient Greek city of Ionia at the base of an escarpment of Mycale, about north of the then course of the Maeander River, from today's Aydin, from today's Söke and from ancient Miletus...

, an ancient city of Ionia
Ionia
Ionia is an ancient region of central coastal Anatolia in present-day Turkey, the region nearest İzmir, which was historically Smyrna. It consisted of the northernmost territories of the Ionian League of Greek settlements...

 on the foot-hills of Mycale
Mycale
Mycale, also Mykale and Mycali , called Samsun Daği and Dilek Daği in modern Turkey, is a mountain on the west coast of central Anatolia in Turkey, north of the mouth of the Maeander and divided from the Greek island of Samos by the 1300 metre wide Samos Strait...

. Worsted in the war, the Milesians came to Athens to plead their case against the Samians. When the Athenians ordered the two sides to stop fighting and submit the case to arbitration at Athens, the Samians refused. In response, Pericles passed a decree dispatching an expedition to Samos, "alleging against its people that, although they were ordered to break off their war against the Milesians, they were not complying". In a naval battle the Athenians led by Pericles and the other nine generals defeated the forces of Samos and imposed on the island an administration pleasing to them. 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. Pericles then quelled a revolt in Byzantium
Byzantium
Byzantium was an ancient Greek city, founded by Greek colonists from Megara in 667 BC and named after their king Byzas . The name Byzantium is a Latinization of the original name Byzantion...

 and, when he returned to Athens, gave a funeral oration to honor the soldiers who died in the expedition.

Between 438-436 BC Pericles led Athens' fleet in Pontus
Pontus
Pontus or Pontos is a historical Greek designation for a region on the southern coast of the Black Sea, located in modern-day northeastern Turkey. The name was applied to the coastal region in antiquity by the Greeks who colonized the area, and derived from the Greek name of the Black Sea: Πόντος...

 and established friendly relations with the Greek cities of the region. Pericles focused also on internal projects, such as the fortification of Athens (the building of the "middle wall" about 440 BC), and on the creation of new cleruchies
Cleruchy
A cleruchy in Hellenic Greece, was a specialized type of colony established by Athens. The term comes from the Greek word , klērouchos, literally "lot-holder"....

, such as Andros
Andros
Andros, or Andro is the northernmost island of the Greek Cyclades archipelago, approximately south east of Euboea, and about north of Tinos. It is nearly long, and its greatest breadth is . Its surface is for the most part mountainous, with many fruitful and well-watered valleys. The area is...

, Naxos and Thurii
Thurii
Thurii , called also by some Latin writers Thurium , for a time also Copia and Copiae, was a city of Magna Graecia, situated on the Tarentine gulf, within a short distance of the site of Sybaris, whose place it may be considered as having taken...

 (444 BC) as well as Amphipolis
Amphipolis
Amphipolis was an ancient Greek city in the region once inhabited by the Edoni people in the present-day region of Central Macedonia. It was built on a raised plateau overlooking the east bank of the river Strymon where it emerged from Lake Cercinitis, about 3 m. from the Aegean Sea. Founded in...

 (437–436 BC).

Personal attacks



Pericles and his friends were never immune from attack, as preeminence in democratic Athens was not equivalent to absolute rule. Just before the eruption of the Peloponnesian war, Pericles and two of his closest associates, Phidias and his companion, Aspasia
Aspasia
Aspasia was a Milesian woman who was famous for her involvement with the Athenian statesman Pericles. Very little is known about the details of her life. She spent most of her adult life in Athens, and she may have influenced Pericles and Athenian politics...

, faced a series of personal and judicial attacks.

Phidias, who had been in charge of all building projects, was first accused of embezzling gold intended for the statue of Athena
Athena
In Greek mythology, Athena, Athenê, or Athene , also referred to as Pallas Athena/Athene , is the goddess of wisdom, courage, inspiration, civilization, warfare, strength, strategy, the arts, crafts, justice, and skill. Minerva, Athena's Roman incarnation, embodies similar attributes. Athena is...

 and then of impiety, because, when he wrought the battle of the Amazons
Amazons
The Amazons are a nation of all-female warriors in Greek mythology and Classical antiquity. Herodotus placed them in a region bordering Scythia in Sarmatia...

 on the shield of Athena, he carved out a figure that suggested himself as a bald old man, and also inserted a very fine likeness of Pericles fighting with an Amazon. Pericles' enemies also found a false witness against Phidias, named Menon.

Aspasia, who was noted for her ability as a conversationalist and adviser, was accused of corrupting the women of Athens in order to satisfy Pericles' perversions. The accusations against her were probably nothing more than unproven slanders, but the whole experience was very bitter for Pericles. Although Aspasia was acquitted thanks to a rare emotional outburst of Pericles, his friend, Phidias, died in prison and another friend of his, Anaxagoras, was attacked by the ecclesia
Ecclesia (ancient Athens)
The ecclesia or ekklesia was the principal assembly of the democracy of ancient Athens during its "Golden Age" . It was the popular assembly, opened to all male citizens over the age of 30 with 2 years of military service by Solon in 594 BC meaning that all classes of citizens in Athens were able...

 for his religious beliefs.

Beyond these initial prosecutions, the ecclesia attacked Pericles himself by asking him to justify his ostensible profligacy with, and maladministration of, public money. According to Plutarch, Pericles was so afraid of the oncoming trial that he did not let the Athenians yield to the Lacedaemonians. Beloch also believes that Pericles deliberately brought on the war to protect his political position at home. Thus, at the start of the Peloponnesian War, Athens found itself in the awkward position of entrusting its future to a leader whose pre-eminence had just been seriously shaken for the first time in over a decade.

Peloponnesian War



The causes of the Peloponnesian War have been much debated, but many ancient historians lay the blame on Pericles and Athens. 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". Thucydides hints at the same thing, believing the reason for the war was Sparta's fear of Athenian power and growth. However, as he is generally regarded as an admirer of Pericles, Thucydides has been criticized for bias towards Sparta
Sparta
Sparta or Lacedaemon, was a prominent city-state in ancient Greece, situated on the banks of the River Eurotas in Laconia, in south-eastern Peloponnese. It emerged as a political entity around the 10th century BC, when the invading Dorians subjugated the local, non-Dorian population. From c...

.

Prelude to the war


Pericles was convinced that the war against Sparta, which could not conceal its envy of Athens' pre-eminence, was inevitable if not to be welcomed. Therefore he did not hesitate to send troops to Corcyra to reinforce the Corcyraean fleet, which was fighting against Corinth
Ancient Corinth
Corinth, or Korinth was a city-state on the Isthmus of Corinth, the narrow stretch of land that joins the Peloponnesus to the mainland of Greece, roughly halfway between Athens and Sparta. The modern town of Corinth is located approximately northeast of the ancient ruins...

. In 433 BC the enemy fleets confronted each other at the Battle of Sybota
Battle of Sybota
The Battle of Sybota took place in 433 BC between Corcyra and Corinth, and was, according to Thucydides, the largest naval battle between Greek city states until that time. It was one of the immediate catalysts for the Peloponnesian War....

 and a year later the Athenians fought Corinthian colonists at the Battle of Potidaea
Battle of Potidaea
The Battle of Potidaea was, with the Battle of Sybota, one of the catalysts for the Peloponnesian War. It was fought near Potidaea in 432 BC between Athens and a combined army from Corinth and Potidaea, along with their various allies....

; these two events contributed greatly to Corinth's lasting hatred of Athens. During the same period, Pericles proposed the Megarian Decree
Megarian decree
The Megarian Decree was a set of economic sanctions levied upon Megara circa 432 BC by the Athenian Empire shortly before the outbreak of the Peloponnesian War. The ostensible reason for the Decree was the Megarians' supposed trespass on land sacred to Demeter and the killing of the Athenian herald...

, which resembled a modern trade embargo. According to the provisions of the decree, Megarian merchants were excluded from the market of Athens and the ports in its empire. This ban strangled the Megarian economy and strained the fragile peace between Athens and Sparta, which was allied with Megara. According to George Cawkwell, a praelector
Praelector
A praelector is a traditional role at the colleges of the University of Cambridge and the University of Oxford. The role differs between the two universities.At Cambridge, a praelector is a fellow of a college...

 in ancient history
Ancient history
Ancient history is the study of the written past from the beginning of recorded human history to the Early Middle Ages. The span of recorded history is roughly 5,000 years, with Cuneiform script, the oldest discovered form of coherent writing, from the protoliterate period around the 30th century BC...

, with this decree Pericles breached the Thirty Years' Peace
Thirty Years' Peace
The Thirty Years' Peace was a treaty, signed between the ancient Greek city-states Athens and Sparta, in the year 446/445 BC. The treaty brought an end to the conflict commonly known as the First Peloponnesian War, which had been raging since c.460 BC....

 "but, perhaps, not without the semblance of an excuse". The Athenians' justification was that the Megarians had cultivated the sacred land consecrated to Demeter
Demeter
In Greek mythology, Demeter is the goddess of the harvest, who presided over grains, the fertility of the earth, and the seasons . Her common surnames are Sito as the giver of food or corn/grain and Thesmophoros as a mark of the civilized existence of agricultural society...

 and had given refuge to runaway slaves, a behavior which the Athenians considered to be impious.

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. 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. At that time, the Athenians unhesitatingly followed Pericles' instructions. In the first legendary oration Thucydides puts in his mouth, Pericles advised the Athenians not to yield to their opponents' demands, since they were militarily stronger. Pericles was not prepared to make unilateral concessions, believing that "if Athens conceded on that issue, then Sparta was sure to come up with further demands". Consequently, Pericles asked the Spartans to offer a quid pro quo. In exchange for retracting the Megarian Decree, the Athenians demanded from Sparta to abandon their practice of periodic expulsion of foreigners from their territory (xenelasia
Xenelasia
Xenelasia was the title given to a set of laws in ancient Doric Crete and Lacedæmonia that proscribed the inclusion of foreigners and any foreign arts and music into their respective commonwealths.-In Lacedæmonia:...

) and to recognize the autonomy of its allied cities, a request implying that Sparta's hegemony was also ruthless. The terms were rejected by the Spartans, and, with neither side willing to back down, the two sides prepared for war. According to Athanasios G. Platias and Constantinos Koliopoulos, professors of strategic studies and international politics, "rather than to submit to coercive demands, Pericles chose war". Another consideration that may well have influenced Pericles' stance was the concern that revolts in the empire might spread if Athens showed herself weak.

First year of the war (431 BC)



In 431 BC, while peace already was precarious, Archidamus II
Archidamus II
Archidamus II was a king of Sparta who reigned from approximately 476 BC to 427 BC. He was of the Eurypontid dynasty. His father was Zeuxidamus , who died before his father, Leotychidas, after having his son, Archidamus....

, Sparta's king, sent a new delegation to Athens, demanding that the Athenians submit to Sparta's demands. This deputation was not allowed to enter Athens, as Pericles had already passed a resolution according to which no Spartan deputation would be welcomed if the Spartans had previously initiated any hostile military actions. The Spartan army was at this time gathered at Corinth, and, citing this as a hostile action, the Athenians refused to admit their emissaries. With his last attempt at negotiation thus declined, Archidamus invaded Attica
Attica
Attica is a historical region of Greece, containing Athens, the current capital of Greece. The historical region is centered on the Attic peninsula, which projects into the Aegean Sea...

, 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.

No definite record exists of how exactly Pericles managed to convince the residents of Attica to agree to move into the crowded urban areas. For most, the move meant abandoning their land and ancestral shrines and completely changing their lifestyle. Therefore, although they agreed to leave, many rural residents were far from happy with Pericles' decision. 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. 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.
"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."
Pericles' Funeral Oration as recorded by Thucydides (2.43)


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. Even when in the face of mounting pressure, Pericles did not give in to the demands for immediate action against the enemy or revise his initial strategy. 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. 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. While the Spartan army remained in Attica, Pericles sent a fleet of 100 ships to loot the coasts of the Peloponnese
Peloponnese
The Peloponnese, Peloponnesos or Peloponnesus , is a large peninsula , located in a region of southern Greece, forming the part of the country south of the Gulf of Corinth...

 and charged the cavalry to guard the ravaged farms close to the walls of the city. 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 the most stringent provision of the decree, even proposing a different use of the money or ships would entail the penalty of death. 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
Pericles' Funeral Oration
Pericles' Funeral Oration is a famous speech from Thucydides' History of the Peloponnesian War. The speech was delivered by Pericles, an eminent Athenian politician, at the end of the first year of the Peloponnesian War as a part of the annual public funeral for the war dead.-Background:It was an...

, honoring the Athenians who died for their city.

Last military operations and death


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. 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. According to Plutarch, just before the sailing of the ships an eclipse
Eclipse
An eclipse is an astronomical event that occurs when an astronomical object is temporarily obscured, either by passing into the shadow of another body or by having another body pass between it and the viewer...

 of the sun
Sun
The Sun is the star at the center of the Solar System. It is almost perfectly spherical and consists of hot plasma interwoven with magnetic fields...

 frightened the crews, but Pericles used the astronomical knowledge he had acquired from Anaxagoras to calm them. In the summer of the same year an epidemic broke out and devastated the Athenians. The exact identity of the disease
Plague of Athens
The Plague of Athens was a devastating epidemic which hit the city-state of Athens in ancient Greece during the second year of the Peloponnesian War , when an Athenian victory still seemed within reach. It is believed to have entered Athens through Piraeus, the city's port and sole source of food...

 is uncertain, and has been the source of much debate. In any case, 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. This is considered to be a monumental oration, revealing Pericles' virtues but also his bitterness towards his compatriots' ingratitude. Temporarily, he managed to tame the people's resentment and to ride out the storm, but his internal enemies' final bid to undermine him came off; they managed to deprive him of the generalship and to fine him at an amount estimated between 15 and 50 talents. Ancient sources mention Cleon
Cleon
Cleon was an Athenian statesman and a Strategos during the Peloponnesian War. He was the first prominent representative of the commercial class in Athenian politics, although he was an aristocrat himself...

, a rising and dynamic protagonist of the Athenian political scene during the war, as the public prosecutor in Pericles' trial.

Nevertheless, within just a year, in 429 BC, the Athenians not only forgave Pericles but also re-elected him as strategos. He was reinstated in command of the Athenian army and led all its military operations during 429 BC, having once again under his control the levers of power. In that year, however, Pericles witnessed the death of both his legitimate sons from his first wife, Paralus and Xanthippus
Paralus and Xanthippus
Paralus and Xanthippus were the two legitimate sons of Pericles, Xanthippus being the older one and Paralus the younger, and hence members of the Alcmaeonid family...

, in the epidemic. His morale undermined, he burst into tears and not even Aspasia's companionship could console him. He himself died of the plague in the autumn of 429 BC.

Just before his death, Pericles' friends were concentrated around his bed, enumerating his virtues during peace and underscoring his nine war trophies. Pericles, though moribund, heard them and interrupted them, pointing out that they forgot to mention his fairest and greatest title to their admiration; "for", said he, "no living Athenian ever put on mourning because of me". 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. With these bitter comments, Thucydides not only laments the loss of a man he admired, but he also heralds the flickering of Athens' unique glory and grandeur.

Personal life


Pericles, following Athenian custom, was first married to one of his closest relatives, with whom he had two sons, Paralus and Xanthippus
Paralus and Xanthippus
Paralus and Xanthippus were the two legitimate sons of Pericles, Xanthippus being the older one and Paralus the younger, and hence members of the Alcmaeonid family...

, but (since this marrige was not a happy marriage) around 445 BC, Pericles divorced his wife. He offered her to another husband, with the agreement of her male relatives. The name of his first wife is not known; the only information about her is that she was the wife of Hipponicus, before being married to Pericles, and the mother of Callias
Callias III
Callias , son of Hipponicus by the former wife of Pericles, an Alcmaeonid and the third member of one of the most distinguished Athenian families to bear the name of Callias...

 from this first marriage.
"For men can endure to hear others praised only so long as they can severally persuade themselves of their own ability to equal the actions recounted: when this point is passed, envy comes in and with it incredulity."
Pericles' Funeral Oration as recorded by Thucydides (2.35)


The woman he really adored was Aspasia of Miletus
Aspasia
Aspasia was a Milesian woman who was famous for her involvement with the Athenian statesman Pericles. Very little is known about the details of her life. She spent most of her adult life in Athens, and she may have influenced Pericles and Athenian politics...

. She became Pericles' mistress and they began to live together as if they were married. This relationship aroused many reactions and even Pericles' own son, Xanthippus, who had political ambitions, did not hesitate to slander his father. 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. His greatest personal tragedy was the death of his sister and of both his legitimate sons, Xanthippus and Paralus, all affected by the epidemic, a calamity he never managed to overcome.
Just before his death, the Athenians allowed a change in the law of 451 BC that made his half-Athenian son with Aspasia, Pericles the Younger
Pericles the Younger
Pericles the Younger was an ancient Athenian strategos , the illegitimate son of famous Athenian leader Pericles by Aspasia....

, a citizen and legitimate heir, a decision all the more striking in consideration that Pericles himself had proposed the law confining citizenship to those of Athenian parentage on both sides.

Assessments


Pericles marked a whole era and inspired conflicting judgments about his significant decisions, which is something normal for a political personality of his magnitude. The fact that he was at the same time a vigorous statesman, general and orator makes more complex the objective assessment of his actions.

Political leadership


Some contemporary scholars, for example Sarah Ruden, call Pericles a populist, a demagogue and a hawk, while other scholars admire his charismatic leadership. According to Plutarch, after assuming the leadership of Athens, "he was no longer the same man as before, nor alike submissive to the people and ready to yield and give in to the desires of the multitude as a steersman to the breezes". It is told 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 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".

Thucydides, an admirer of Pericles, maintains that Athens was "in name a democracy but, in fact, governed by its first citizen". Through this comment, the historian illustrates what he perceives as Pericles' charisma to lead, convince and, sometimes, to manipulate. Although Thucydides mentions the fining of Pericles, he does not mention the accusations against Pericles but instead focuses on Pericles' integrity. On the other hand, in one of his dialogues, Plato
Plato
Plato , was a Classical Greek philosopher, mathematician, student of Socrates, writer of philosophical dialogues, and founder of the Academy in Athens, the first institution of higher learning in the Western world. Along with his mentor, Socrates, and his student, Aristotle, Plato helped to lay the...

 rejects the glorification of Pericles and quote as saying: "as I know, Pericles made the Athenians slothful, garrulous and avaricious, by starting the system of public fees".
Plutarch mentions other criticism of Pericles' leadership: "many others say that the people were first led on by him into allotments of public lands, festival-grants, and distributions of fees for public services, thereby falling into bad habits, and becoming luxurious and wanton under the influence of his public measures, instead of frugal and self-sufficing".

Thucydides argues that Pericles "was not carried away by the people, but he was the one guiding the people". 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. According to King, by increasing the power of the people, the Athenians left themselves with no authoritative leader. During the Peloponnesian War, Pericles' dependence on popular support to govern was obvious.

Military achievements


For more than 20 years Pericles led many expeditions, mainly naval ones. 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". He based his military policy on Themistocles
Themistocles
Themistocles ; c. 524–459 BC, was an Athenian politician and a general. He was one of a new breed of politicians who rose to prominence in the early years of the Athenian democracy, along with his great rival Aristides...

' principle that Athens' predominance depends on its superior naval power and believed that the Peloponnesians were near-invincible on land. Pericles also tried to minimize the advantages of Sparta by rebuilding the walls of Athens, which, it has been suggested, radically altered the use of force in Greek international relations.
"These glories may incur the censure of the slow and unambitious; but in the breast of energy they will awake emulation, and in those who must remain without them an envious regret. Hatred and unpopularity at the moment have fallen to the lot of all who have aspired to rule others."
Pericles' Third Oration as recorded by Thucydides (2.64)


During the Peloponnesian War, Pericles initiated a defensive "grand strategy
Grand strategy
Grand strategy comprises the "purposeful employment of all instruments of power available to a security community". Military historian B. H. Liddell Hart says about grand strategy:...

" whose aim was the exhaustion of the enemy and the preservation of the status quo. 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". The two basic principles of the "Periclean Grand Strategy" were the rejection of appeasement (in accordance with which he urged the Athenians not to revoke the Megarian Decree) and the avoidance of overextension. 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. His strategy is said to have been "inherently unpopular", but Pericles managed to persuade the Athenian public to follow it. It is for that reason that Hans Delbrück
Hans Delbrück
Hans Delbrück was a German historian. Delbrück was one of the first modern military historians, basing his method of research on the critical examination of ancient sources, the use of auxiliary disciplines, like demography and economics, to complete the analysis and the comparison between...

 called him one of the greatest statesmen and military leaders in history. Although his countrymen engaged in several aggressive actions soon after his death, Platias and Koliopoulos argue that the Athenians remained true to the larger Periclean strategy of seeking to preserve, not expand, the empire, and did not depart from it until the Sicilian Expedition. For his part, Ben X. de Wet concludes his strategy would have succeeded had he lived longer.

Critics of Pericles' strategy, however, have been just as numerous as its supporters. A common criticism is that Pericles was always a better politician and orator than strategist. Donald Kagan
Donald Kagan
Donald Kagan is an American historian at Yale University specializing in ancient Greece, notable for his four-volume history of the Peloponnesian War. 1987-1988 Acting Director of Athletics, Yale University. He was Dean of Yale College from 1989–1992. He formerly taught in the Department of...

 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
Victor Davis Hanson
Victor Davis Hanson is an American military historian, columnist, political essayist and former classics professor, notable as a scholar of ancient warfare. He has been a commentator on modern warfare and contemporary politics for National Review and other media outlets...

 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. 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. Kagan estimates Pericles' expenditure on his military strategy in the Peloponnesian War to be about 2,000 talents
Talent (weight)
The "talent" was one of several ancient units of mass, as well as corresponding units of value equivalent to these masses of a precious metal. It was approximately the mass of water required to fill an amphora. A Greek, or Attic talent, was , a Roman talent was , an Egyptian talent was , and a...

 annually, and based on this figure concludes that he would only have enough money to keep the war going for three years. He asserts that since Pericles must have known about these limitations he probably planned for a much shorter war. Others, such as Donald W. Knight, conclude that the strategy was too defensive and would not succeed.

On the other hand, Platias and Koliopoulos reject these criticisms and state that "the Athenians lost the war only when they dramatically reversed the Periclean grand strategy that explicitly disdained further conquests". Hanson stresses that the Periclean strategy was not innovative, but could lead to a stagnancy in favor of Athens. It is a popular conclusion that those succeeding him lacked his abilities and character.

Oratorical skill



Modern commentators of Thucydides
Thucydides
Thucydides was a Greek historian and author from Alimos. His History of the Peloponnesian War recounts the 5th century BC war between Sparta and Athens to the year 411 BC...

, with other modern historians and writers, take varying stances on the issue of how much of the speeches of Pericles, as given by this historian, do actually represent Pericles' own words and how much of them is free literary creation or paraphrase by Thucydides. Since Pericles never wrote down or distributed his orations, no historians are able to 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. 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. This might, however, be the result of the incorporation of the genre of rhetoric into the genre of historiography. That is to say, Thucydides could simply have used two different writing styles for two different purposes.

Kagan states that Pericles adopted "an elevated mode of speech, free from the vulgar and knavish tricks of mob-orators" and, according to Diodorus Siculus
Diodorus Siculus
Diodorus Siculus was a Greek historian who flourished between 60 and 30 BC. According to Diodorus' own work, he was born at Agyrium in Sicily . With one exception, antiquity affords no further information about Diodorus' life and doings beyond what is to be found in his own work, Bibliotheca...

, he "excelled all his fellow citizens in skill of oratory". According to Plutarch
Plutarch
Plutarch then named, on his becoming a Roman citizen, Lucius Mestrius Plutarchus , c. 46 – 120 AD, was a Greek historian, biographer, essayist, and Middle Platonist known primarily for his Parallel Lives and Moralia...

, he avoided using gimmicks in his speeches, unlike the passionate Demosthenes
Demosthenes
Demosthenes was a prominent Greek statesman and orator of ancient Athens. His orations constitute a significant expression of contemporary Athenian intellectual prowess and provide an insight into the politics and culture of ancient Greece during the 4th century BC. Demosthenes learned rhetoric by...

, and always spoke in a calm and tranquil manner. The biographer points out, however, that the poet Ion
Ion of Chios
Ion of Chios was a Greek writer, dramatist, lyric poet and philosopher. He was a contemporary of Aeschylus, Euripides and Sophocles. Of his many plays and poems only a few titles and fragments have survived...

 reported that Pericles' speaking style was "a presumptuous and somewhat arrogant manner of address, and that into his haughtiness there entered a good deal of disdain and contempt for others". Gorgias
Gorgias
Gorgias ,Greek sophist, pre-socratic philosopher and rhetorician, was a native of Leontini in Sicily. Along with Protagoras, he forms the first generation of Sophists. Several doxographers report that he was a pupil of Empedocles, although he would only have been a few years younger...

, in Plato's homonymous dialogue, uses Pericles as an example of powerful oratory. In Menexenus
Menexenus
The Menexenus is a Socratic dialogue of Plato, traditionally included in the seventh tetralogy along with the Greater and Lesser Hippias and the Ion. The characters are Socrates and Menexenus, who is not to be confused with Socrates' son Menexenus. The Menexenus of Plato's dialogue appears also...

, however, Socrates casts aspersions on Pericles' rhetorical fame, claiming ironically that, since Pericles was educated by Aspasia, a trainer of many orators, he would be superior in rhetoric to someone educated by Antiphon
Antiphon (person)
Antiphon the Sophist lived in Athens probably in the last two decades of the 5th century BC. There is an ongoing controversy over whether he is one and the same with Antiphon of the Athenian deme Rhamnus in Attica , the earliest of the ten Attic orators...

. He also attributes authorship of the Funeral Oration to Aspasia and attacks his contemporaries' veneration of Pericles. Sir Richard C. Jebb
Richard Claverhouse Jebb
Sir Richard Claverhouse Jebb, OM, FBA was a British classical scholar and politician.He was born in Dundee, Scotland. His father was a well-known barrister, and his grandfather a judge...

 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".

Ancient Greek writers call Pericles "Olympian" and extol his talents; referring to him "thundering and lightening and exciting Greece" and carrying the weapons of Zeus when orating. According to Quintilian
Quintilian
Marcus Fabius Quintilianus was a Roman rhetorician from Hispania, widely referred to in medieval schools of rhetoric and in Renaissance writing...

, Pericles would always prepare assiduously for his orations and, before going on the rostrum, he would always pray to the Gods, so as not to utter any improper word.

Legacy


Pericles' most visible legacy can be found in the literary and artistic works of the Golden Age, most of which survive to this day. The Acropolis, though in ruins, still stands and is a symbol of modern Athens. Paparrigopoulos wrote that these masterpieces are "sufficient to render the name of Greece immortal in our world".

In politics, Victor L. Ehrenberg argues that a basic element of Pericles' legacy is Athenian imperialism, which denies true democracy and freedom to the people of all but the ruling state. The promotion of such an arrogant imperialism is said to have ruined Athens. Pericles and his "expansionary" policies have been at the center of arguments promoting democracy in oppressed countries.

Other analysts maintain an Athenian humanism illustrated in the Golden Age. The freedom of expression is regarded as the lasting legacy deriving from this period. Pericles is lauded as "the ideal type
Ideal type
Ideal type , also known as pure type, is a typological term most closely associated with antipositivist sociologist Max Weber . For Weber, the conduct of social science depends upon the construction of hypothetical concepts in the abstract...

 of the perfect statesman in ancient Greece" and his Funeral Oration is nowadays synonymous with the struggle for participatory democracy and civic pride.

See also



  • Art in Ancient Greece
    Art in Ancient Greece
    The arts of ancient Greece have exercised an enormous influence on the culture of many countries all over the world, particularly in the areas of sculpture and architecture. In the West, the art of the Roman Empire was largely derived from Greek models...

  • Culture of Greece
    Culture of Greece
    The culture of Greece has evolved over thousands of years, beginning in Mycenaean Greece, continuing most notably into Classical Greece, through the influence of the Roman Empire and its Greek Eastern successor the Byzantine Empire...

  • Sculpture of Ancient Greece
  • Timeline of Ancient Greece
    Timeline of Ancient Greece
    This is a timeline of Ancient Greece from 800 BC to 146 BC.For earlier times, see Greek Dark Ages, Aegean civilizations and Mycenaean Greece. For later times see Roman Greece, Byzantine Empire and Ottoman Greece....


Primary sources (Greek and Roman)



  • Aristophanes
    Aristophanes
    Aristophanes , son of Philippus, of the deme Cydathenaus, was a comic playwright of ancient Athens. Eleven of his forty plays survive virtually complete...

    , The Acharnians
    The Acharnians
    The Acharnians is the third play - and the earliest of the eleven surviving plays - by the great Athenian playwright Aristophanes. It was produced in 425 BCE on behalf of the young dramatist by an associate, Callistratus, and it won first place at the Lenaia festival...

    . See original text in Perseus program.. See original text in Perseus program.
  • Aristotle, Politika (Politics)
    Politics (Aristotle)
    Aristotle's Politics is a work of political philosophy. The end of the Nicomachean Ethics declared that the inquiry into ethics necessarily follows into politics, and the two works are frequently considered to be parts of a larger treatise, or perhaps connected lectures, dealing with the...

    . See original text in Perseus program.
  • Cicero, De Oratore
    De Oratore
    De Oratore is a dialogue written by Cicero in 55 BCE. It is set in 91 BCE, when Lucius Licinius Crassus dies, just before the social war and the civil war between Marius and Sulla, during which Marcus Antonius Orator, the other great orator of this dialogue, dies...

    . See original text in Perseus program.
  • Diodorus Siculus, Library, 12th Book. See original text in Perseus program.
  • Herodotus, The Histories
    Histories (Herodotus)
    The Histories of Herodotus is considered one of the seminal works of history in Western literature. Written from the 450s to the 420s BC in the Ionic dialect of classical Greek, The Histories serves as a record of the ancient traditions, politics, geography, and clashes of various cultures that...

    , VI. See original text in Perseus program.
  • Plato, Alcibiades I
    First Alcibiades
    The First Alcibiades or Alcibiades I is a dialogue featuring Alcibiades in conversation with Socrates. It is ascribed to Plato, although scholars are divided on the question of its authenticity.- Content :...

    . See original text in in Perseus program, from
    • Plato, Gorgias
      Gorgias (dialogue)
      Gorgias is a Socratic dialogue written by Plato around 380 BC. In this dialogue, Socrates seeks the true definition of rhetoric, attempting to pinpoint the essence of rhetoric and unveil the flaws of the sophistic oratory popular in Athens at this time...

      . See original text in Perseus program, from
      • Plato, Menexenus. See original text in Perseus program, from
        • Plato, Phaedrus, See original text in Perseus program, from
          • Plutarch, Cimon. See original text in Perseus program.. See original text in Perseus program.
          • Quintilian, Institutiones. See original text in The Latin Library., I-III. See original text in Perseus program.
          • Xenophon
            Xenophon
            Xenophon , son of Gryllus, of the deme Erchia of Athens, also known as Xenophon of Athens, was a Greek historian, soldier, mercenary, philosopher and a contemporary and admirer of Socrates...

             (?), Constitution of Athens
            Constitution of the Athenians
            The Constitution of the Athenians is the name of either of two texts from Classical antiquity, one probably by Aristotle or a student of his, the other attributed to Xenophon, but not by him....

            . See original text in Perseus program.


          Secondary sources


          • Beloch, K.J. (1884). Die Attische Politik seit Perikles . Leipzig (in German).
          • Beloch, K.J. (1893). Griechische Geschichte. Volume II (in German).
          • Delbrück, Hans (1920): History of the Art of War, University of Nebraska Press; Reprint edition, 1990. Translated by Walter, J. Renfroe. Volume 1.
          • Encyclopaedic Dictionary The Helios. Volume VIII. article: The Funeral Speech over the Fallen. Volume XV. article: Pericles (in Greek).
          • Kakridis, Ioannis Th. (1993). Interpretative Comments on the Pericles' Funeral Oration. Estia (in Greek).
          • King, J.D. (2005). .
          • Paparrigopoulos, Konstantinos (-Karolidis, Pavlos)(1925), History of the Hellenic Nation (Volume Ab). Eleftheroudakis (in Greek).
          • Vlachos, Angelos (1992). Remarks on Thucydides' History of the Peloponnesian War (Α΄-Δ΄). Volume I. Estia (in Greek).
          • Vlachos, Angelos (1974). Thucydides' bias. Estia (in Greek).


          Further reading


          • Gore Vidal
            Gore Vidal
            Gore Vidal is an American author, playwright, essayist, screenwriter, and political activist. His third novel, The City and the Pillar , outraged mainstream critics as one of the first major American novels to feature unambiguous homosexuality...

            , Creation (novel)
            Creation (novel)
            Creation is an epic historical fiction novel by Gore Vidal which was published in 1981. In 2002, he published a restored version, adding four chapters that a previous editor had cut...

             for a fictional account of Pericles and a Persian view of the wars.


          External links