Tuesday, December 16, 2008


What Pericles has devoted can be easily told from the praise "the first citizen of Athen". He is one of the most prominent populists and had led Athen through the first two year of Peloponnesian wars.

Pericles' mother was a scion from a powerful noble, and this helped both Pericles and his father's politic career. Pericles' father, Xanthippus, was once ostracised but returned to lead army and win victory. The wealthy background gave Pericles a chance to study. Unlike Washington or those who born to be leader, he was quiet and liked studies more than interaction with public in his childhood.

After Cimon's death, he gradually gained his power and became the statesman over 40 years. During "Ages of Pericles", He made some ambitious acheivements that benefited the city. On architectures, he rebuilt some shrines as well as temples for gods, whose original ones are destroyed in the wars. Also a giant statue of Athena Promachus, the Parthenon, and thAthens as the strongest party did not have to beat Sparta in military terms and "chose to foil the Spartan plan for victory"e Propylaea were done in his period. Above were not only the reconstructions in order to beautify the damaged city but numerous oppurtunities of works. On culture, he promoted art, literature, education and made the Athens play an important role preserving. Philosophy was another promotion, which was received from Anaxagoras, giving him the trait of calmness. Structures and education ensure the inner of the empire.

Pericles led Athens to an Empire, but not interested in expansion. His had good navy but refused to overexpand. Those caused both positive and negative reaction. Donald Kagan called the Periclean strategy "a form of wishful thinking that failed", which means that Pericles wasn't good at strategy at all. But Pericles' defensive grand strategy made other historian say that Athens as the strongest party did not have to beat Sparta in military terms and "chose to foil the Spartan plan for victory". One of them, Hans Delbrück, even called him one of the greatest statesmen and military leaders in history.

Epidemic spreaded fastly and took away some of his relatives. Athenians considered it as his fault because he let villagers move into city. Pericles' job was taken off. When Athenians thought of his devotions again, he died. Citizens had no chance to say thanks, instead, they changed the law to allow his son, who wasn't an Athenian to inherit his properties.


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