Pericles - Wikipedia
There is a connection, hard to explain logically but easy to feel, between achievement in public life and progress in the arts. The age of Pericles was also the age. siasm for Art as during the times of Pericles and Phidias. The present generation, so body of disciples who stood in the same relation to their teachers as the .. We quote from Feuerbach: 'The beautiful form of the. " nose, the loveliness of. An article about Pericles hand selected for the Wikipedia for Schools by SOS Children. "Phidias Showing the Frieze of the Parthenon to Pericles, Aspasia, a political marriage between Periclean liberals and Cimonian conservatives. .. in one of his dialogues, Plato rejects the glorification of Pericles and quote as saying.
Phidias, who had been in charge of all building projects, was first accused of embezzling gold intended for the statue of Athena and then of impiety, because, when he wrought the battle of the Amazons 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 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. Prelude to the war Anaxagoras and Pericles by Augustin-Louis Belle — 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. In BC the enemy fleets confronted each other at the Battle of Sybota and a year later the Athenians fought Corinthian colonists at the Battle of Potidaea; these two events contributed greatly to Corinth's lasting hatred of Athens.
During the same period, Pericles proposed the Megarian Decree, 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 in ancient historywith this decree Pericles breached the Thirty Years' Peace "but, perhaps, not without the semblance of an excuse".
The Athenians' justification was that the Megarians had cultivated the sacred land consecrated to Demeter and had given refuge to runaway slaves, a behaviour 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.LIFE OF PHIDIAS!!! (MASTER SCULPTOR ETC)
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 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. 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, 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.
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 ships to loot the coasts of the Peloponnese 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, talents and 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 BC, Pericles led the Athenian forces that invaded Megara and a few months later winter of — BC he delivered his monumental and emotional Funeral Oration, honoring the Athenians who died for their city. Last military operations and death In 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 Athenian ships with him. According to Plutarch, just before the sailing of the ships an eclipse of the sun 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 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, 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 BC, the Athenians not only forgave Pericles but also re-elected him as strategos.
Phidias, Greek Sculptor
He was reinstated in command of the Athenian army and led all its military operations during 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, 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 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.
- Phidias: Greek Sculptor and Architect
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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. 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 from this first marriage. 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 BC that made his half-Athenian son with Aspasia, Pericles the Younger, 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. 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 An ostracon with Pericles' name written on it c. 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 rejects the glorification of Pericles and quote as saying: Plutarch mentions other criticism of Pericles' leadership: 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' 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. Hatred and unpopularity at the moment have fallen to the lot of all who have aspired to rule others. 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.
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. 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 called the Periclean strategy "a form of wishful thinking that failed", Barry S. Strauss and Josiah Ober have stated that "as strategist he was a failure and deserves a share of the blame for Athens' great defeat", and Victor Davis Hanson believes that Pericles had not worked out a clear strategy for an effective offensive action that could possibly force Thebes or Sparta to stop the war.
Kagan criticizes the Periclean strategy on four counts: Kagan estimates Pericles' expenditure on his military strategy in the Peloponnesian War to be about 2, talents 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 favour of Athens.
It is a popular conclusion that those succeeding him lacked his abilities and character. Oratorical skill A painting by Hector Leroux —which portrays Pericles and Aspasia, admiring the gigantic statue of Athena in Phidias' studio Modern commentators of Thucydideswith 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, he "excelled all his fellow citizens in skill of oratory".
According to Plutarch, he avoided using gimmicks in his speeches, unlike the passionate Demosthenesand always spoke in a calm and tranquil manner.
The biographer points out, however, that the poet Ion 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, in Plato's homonymous dialogue, uses Pericles as an example of powerful oratory. In Menexenus, 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.
He also attributes authorship of the Funeral Oration to Aspasia and attacks his contemporaries' veneration of Pericles. Jebb concludes that "unique as an Athenian statesman, Pericles must have been in two respects unique also as an Athenian orator; first, because he occupied such a position of personal ascendancy as no man before or after him attained; secondly, because his thoughts and his moral force won him such renown for eloquence as no one else ever got from Athenians".
Themistocles then was in charge of the government of Athens and ordered the construction of the foundations of a new temple on a higher area of the Acropolis that later would be occupied by the Parthenon. The building ordered by Themistocles should be a hundred feet long and so it was called Hecatompedon, its foundations have been recognized under the foundations of the Parthenon, its floor plan was somewhat narrower and was more elongated like those of the archaic Doric buildings.
It seems though that after the government of Themistocles ended, the construction of this temple was suspended and during the reactionary government of Cimon it was seriously thought to rebuild the Old Temple. However, the site chosen for the Hecatompedon had the advantage of being at the highest point of the Acropolis.
Plutarch in his writing about the life of Pericles repeatedly insisted in his liberal spirit and his philosophical education. To achieve these objectives Pericles managed to gather at Athens the main artists and philosophers of all Greece.
As superintendent and chief of all reconstruction work, Pericles chose Phidias, a sculptor who had already distinguished himself in earlier works.
The Athena Lemnia, a Roman marble copy after a bronze original by Phidias ca. His first famous work executed on behalf of Cimon between and BCE was a bronze sculpture of gigantic proportions about 30 feet high which was erected on the Acropolis near the Propylaea.
It was the largest metal statue ever casted in Athens.