Pericles


By: Kate Yuan




Pericles was a great statesman, general, patron of the arts and politician. Pericles was born around 495 B.C. in Athens, Greece. His father, Xanthippus, was a famous general and statesman who came from a wealthy family of aristocrats. He had defeated the Persians in the battle of Mycale in 479 BC. Pericles’s mother, Agariste, was niece to a famous statesman and reformer, Cleisthenes. Many of his friends were important people such as Sophocles, Herodotus, Phidias, Socrates and Protagoras. He received education of music under Damon and in math under Zeno of Elea. He received also education on politics, ethics, and philosophy.
When Pericles was very young, Persia attempted to conquer Greece but was defeated at the Battle of Marathon among them. At 13, Battle of Salamis happened and Pericles was among the evacuated citizens. When he was 17, Pericles inherited a large fortune which he used to sponsor a major part of the festival of Dionysus. Pericles was assigned to sponsor Aeschylus' play, “The Persians” won first prize, bringing its sponsor, Pericles to fame. In his early 20’s he married a wife which bear him 2 sons.
Pericles entered the government in 470 B.C. He supported a major reform on Athenian constitution. . Pericles allied with a politician called Ephialtes. Pericles took on a powerful council of leaders called the Areopagus by organizing a vote in the popular assembly that took the old noble council’s remaining powers. It was an important point in the history of democracy.
pericles bust.jpg
A bust of Pericles

Pericles now became a general of the Athenian army. He took control of the city of Delphi from the Spartans. He also conquered the Thracian peninsula of Gallipoli and established an Athenian colony there. Pericles also worked on reforming thedemocracy. He introduced new laws and ideas.
Pericles rebuilt many temples that were destroyed by the Persians. He also had the long walls built from Athens to the port city of Piraeus to protect the city if there is an attack. Pericles' most famous building project was the Parthenon on the acropolis. It was a temple to the goddess Athena and was built between the 447 B.C. and 438 B.C. It took over 20 thousand tons of marble to construct. The leadership of Pericles was called the Golden Age of Athens. Arts and education flourished under Pericles.

Other Greek city-states thought Athens was getting too powerful. In 431 BC, the Peloponnesian War began between Sparta and Athens. Pericles gave a famous speech called the Funeral Oration. It was in honor of the soldiers who had already died. They had the Long Walls to the port that helped them to get supplies. A plague struck Athens and thousands of people died. In 429 BC, Pericles’s two sons died. Athens fell. Pericles died at about age 65.
pericles painting.jpg
A painting of Pericles giving the Funeral Oration in honor of the dead soldiers.

Works Cited

"Biography for Kids: Pericles." Ducksters. Technological Solutions, Inc. (TSI), Dec. 2014. Web. 14 Dec. 2014. <http://www.ducksters.com/history/ancient_greece/pericles.php>.
“Bust of Pericles bearing the inscription "Pericles, son of Xanthippus, Athenian". Marble, Roman copy after a Greek original from c. 430 BC”. Wikipedia: The Free Encyclopedia. Wikipedia, 13 Sept. 2006. Web Image. 13 Dec. 2014. ©. <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pericles>.
“Pericles 493 BC – 429BC”. The Greeks Crucible of Civilization. The Greeks Crucible of Civilization, NF. Web. 1 Dec. 2014. <http://www.pbs.org/empires/thegreeks/htmlver/characters/f_pericles.html>.
“Pericles (c.495-429)”.www.in2greece.com. NF, NF. Web. 1 Dec. 2014. <http://www.in2greece.com/english/historymyth/history/ancient/pericles.htm>.
“THE AGE OF PERICLES - PAINTING BY PHILIPP VON FOLTZ”. EmersonKent.com - History for the Relaxed Historian. EmersonKent.com - History for the Relaxed Historian, NF. Web Image. 13 Dec. 2014. ©. <http://www.emersonkent.com/speeches/pericles_funeral_oration.htm>.