no edit summary
==The life of Pericles==
Pericles was born into one of Athens’ most prominent families. His father Xanthippus was a hero of the Persian Wars and his mother was a member of the noble Alcmaeonidae clan<ref> Plutarch, Life of Pericles, 1.5. 6</ref>. He was highly educated and moved in the same circles as some of the leading Athenian philosophers such as Anaxagoras. It seems probable that he gained military experience while still a young man. Pericles used his financial wealth to sponsor Aeschylus's play, The Persians. This play was seen as supporting the popular party in the city. Pericles soon became the leader of this party in the city, despite his wealthy background. His main opponent was the leader of the conservative party, Cimon. From 463 and 461, Pericles worked to prosecute Cimon, for failure to protect the city’s interests in Macedonia. He eventually secured the expulsion of Cimon from Athens, after a public vote. Pericles was a capable general and led a successful military campaign. He was elected a general, every year, for the rest of his life. He was to lead Athenians land and naval expeditions many times and typically with great success. Pericles was very popular because of his great ability as an orator, his speeches could persuade the citizenry of Athens to follow his policies <ref>Plutarch, 6. 4. 1</ref>. He was never officially the leader of the city, but his abilities made him the most influential person in the city for decades. Pericles played a leading role in the formulation of a peace treaty with the Persians and also the end of the First Peloponnesian War with Sparta and her allies. This was to lead to almost two decades of peace, which resulted in a brief but glorious cultural flourishing in the city. Pericles was an imperialist and he wanted to turn Athens into an Empire. He sponsored invasions of Cyprus and Egypt, during the 440s BC. In 454 BC, he was the chief instigator of the decision to move the treasury of the Delian League from Delos, to Athens. This and other policies, over a number of years, turned what had once been an anti-Persian alliance into the Athenian Empire. Pericles ordered the brutal suppression of any Athenian subject-city or island who wanted more autonomy or independence. The treasury of the Delian League was used to finance great building projects in the city, such as the Acropolis. Pericles was determined to beautify the city which also benefitted it economically. As Athens's power grew, Sparta felt isolated and threatened. When its ephors and kings demanded some concessions in relation to Megara, Pericles refused and in 431 BC, war broke out between the two most powerful Greek states. Sparta invaded Attica and raided the countryside around Athens. Pericles was able to persuade the Athenians not to fight the Spartans on land but to withdraw to the city and use its navy to harass the enemy and to keep the city supplied by sea<ref>Thucydides. History of the Peloponnesian War, 2. 37. 1</ref>. The Athenian statesman knew that the Spartans had a larger and better field army. His strategy, sometimes named after him, he argued would eventually lead to the Spartans losing a war of attrition, because Athens had more resources. However, this was not a popular strategy and he was briefly deposed from office in 430 BC, but he was later recalled. In 429 BC, disaster struck Athens, a plague ravaged the city. Pericles two legitimate sons died in the plague and up to one-third of the population perished. A few months later Pericles also died of the plague, while his city was in a life-or-death struggle with Sparta. His death left the city leaderless and none of his successors could match his abilities and this was a factor in Athens defeat by Sparta.
[[File: Pericles five.jpg|200px|thumb|
17TH Century painting of the Plague in Athens|]]
==Pericles: the democrat==
Traditionally, Pericles was regarded by historians as a great democrat. He was seen as encouraging and enabling the participation of the ordinary citizens in the democratic process, not only as electors but as active participants <ref> Kagan, Donald. Pericles of Athens and the Birth of Democracy (NY, Simon, and Schuster, 1998), p. 124</ref>. He enabled civic participation by subsidizing service on juries and also for other civil roles. This meant that municipal service was no longer the preserve of the rich who could afford to serve in juries or offices without pay. Moreover, he was able to limit the power of the aristocracy in politics. Pericles believed based on his surviving speeches which are mainly recorded in the works of the historian Thucydides, argue that freedom was essential for the individual and that democracy was necessary for a vibrant and successful society. The Athenian historian quotes the stateman as saying “Make up your minds that happiness depends on being free” <ref>Thucydides, 2. 37. 1</ref>. His views and oratory did much to democratize Athens and they still inspire democrats to this day. However, many argue that Pericles was not a true democrat and claim that he was a populist and a demagogue. He used his power of oratory to become the almost unquestioned ruler of Athens. This is a fact that is even recognized by his admirer Thucydides.