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Who was Pericles? Short biograhpy. Pericles history, pictures and videos. Pericles facts, birthday and Life Story…

Pericles (c.490—429 BC) – Athenian statesman

Dominating the ancient city of Athens, in Greece, is a splendid temple called the Parthenon. It stands on a hill called the Acropolis and it is a permanent memorial to the man who had it built, Pericles, the greatest of all the ancient Greek statesmen.

This much-loved man, reputedly handsome, kind, firm when necessary, courageous in battle and generous in victory, rose to power as leader of the popular party in Athens in about 460 BC. He had been elected a member of the board of commoners, which governed the state in those days. Very soon he established a reputation for high political skill, for total honesty (one could never under any circumstances bribe Pericles), and within two years he was the leading man in the government. Thus he remained for the next thirty years.

Pericles’ rule was noted for its peaceful achievements, although he had perforce to go to war from time to time. The Greeks had of course been experimenting with variations of democratic government for a long time. Pericles tried to make it work still better. Elected members of the governing councils had to have their backgrounds examined to see if they were qualified to serve. All those dealing with public money were carefully watched, so that the temptation to steal or to ‘fiddle’ the accounts was cut down. Pericles really believed that all men were good at heart, and only needed guidance.

At the same time, Pericles was determined to make his age a splendid one, and he adorned Athens with beautiful buildings like the Parthenon. He encouraged arts of all kinds and among his many friends were the sculptor Pheidias (p. 17) and the playwrights Aristophanes and Sophocles (pp. 19, 18). He encouraged philosophers to speak their minds, however controversial they might want to be, like Socrates (p. 19) whose troubles only began after Pericles’ death.

To the great relief of all Athenians, this splendid statesman died of the plague in 429 BC.