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C O U R S E 
The Ancient Greeks
Andrew Szegedy-Maszak, Wesleyan University
C O U R S E   L E C T U R E 
Pericles: Aristocrat, Orator and Democratic Citizen
Notes taken on September 30, 2015 by Edward Tanguay
there are very few people who have given their names to a period in history, Pericles is one of them
The Age of Pericles
495-429 BC
the golden age of Athenian culture
brilliant general, orator, patron of the arts and politician
he was the first citizen of democratic Athens, according to the historian Thucydides
his family background was as elite as it could be
father was Xanthippus
Pericles clearly destined to pick up the family banner
463 BC, Pericles was a prosecutor of Cimon, who was acquitted for ostracism
462 BC, came onto the public stage, along with Ephialtes, reformed the ancient council of the Areopagus
exists along side the democratic council of 500 which had been established by Cleisthenes
consisted of archons
Areopagus' power was almost completely taken away
remained a court to try voluntary homicide
Aeschylus wrote his trilogy Oresteia
the end of the curse on the House of Atreus
The Libation Bearers
The Eumenides
addresses the Areopogus as the founding charter of a court to hear cases of homicide
nick-named the Olympian
friend of Protagoras
Plato credits him with having invented the role of the professional sophist
"man is the measure of all things"
Aspasia [as-PAY-zhah]
from Miletus
a professional escort
good thinker and conversationalist
Pericles and she were a kind of power couple
elite families retained a political influence through the democratic system
political support
Pericles rejected all forms of this official friendship
instead, the main source of his power was controlling discourse
he turned to the people
in the public assembly where you had to be able to speak powerfully and persuasively, he had no equal
had a lot of family wealth, didn't need to be bribed
his ambition was more for Athens, for the police
Thucydides: "During the years of his ascendency, Athens was in name a democracy but under the rule of the first citizen."
a bit of an exaggeration, of course, he was not a king or tyrant, but he was a very influential person
Pericles is known to have embodied Athens at its height
revisionist view:
in 450s, the Athenians undertook a kind of naval engagement to Egypt
perhaps to encourage the local governor to rebel from the Persian empire
it was a disaster, Athenian fleet was wrecked
the league treasury was transferred from Delos to Athens
454 BC: transfer of the treasury
451 BC: five years truce between Athens and Sparta
450 BC: Peace of Callias
Athenians make some kind of formal peace with the Persians
the Delian league then lost some of its meaning with this and power moved toward Athens
Pericles ask Greek states to come to Athens to a conference, they don't come
Papyrus decree for a building program
449 BC: missing year in Athenian tribute list
could have been no tribute or the stone had broken off
448 BC: lower tribute
Athenians might have eased up a bit
Coinage Degree: members of the League had to use the Athen's money and measures
the Cleinias Decree: involved the tightening up of the process of tribute collection in the Athenian Empire
so we see that the Athenian Empire under the influence of Pericles was acting much more imperialistically and aggressively
so instead of being the figure of moderation as Thucydides extols, he seems to have been more imperialistic