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Bust of Pericles after Cresilas, Altes Museum, Berlin
Bust of Pericles after Cresilas, Altes Museum, Berlin
RankGeneral (Strategos)
Battles/warsBattle in Sicyon and Acarnania (454 BC)
Second Sacred War (448 BC)
Expulsion of barbarians from Gallipoli (447 BC)
Samian War (440 BC)
Siege of Byzantium (438 BC)
Peloponnesian War (431–429 BC)

Pericles or Perikles (ca. 495–429 BC, Greek: Περικλῆς, meaning "surrounded by glory") was a prominent and influential statesman. He also was an orator, and general of Athens. He lived between the Persian and Peloponnesian wars. He was descended, through his mother, from the Alcmaeonid family.

Pericles had great influence on Athenian society. Thucydides, a contemporary historian, described him as "the first citizen of Athens". Pericles turned the Delian League into an Athenian empire and led his countrymen during the first two years of the Peloponnesian War. The period during which he led Athens, roughly from 461 to 429 BC, is sometimes known as the "Age of Pericles,". This period though can include times as early as the Persian Wars, or as late as the next century.

In Pericles late 20’s he sponsored a major dramatic production for the festival of Dionysus, and he also entertained the whole city. Pericles also got married and had 2 sons. His wife's name is unknown. He associated with a courtesan named Aspasia. A decade later the people started to like him more and more. He got involved with the politics called Ephialtes. Pericles and Ephialtes took away the noble's powers. Ephialtes was later assassinated.

Pericles promoted the arts and literature. This was a chief reason Athens holds the reputation of being the educational and cultural centre of the ancient Greek world. He started an ambitious project that built most of the surviving structures on the Acropolis (including the Parthenon). This project made the city more beautiful., It also showed its glory, and gave work to the people.[1] Furthermore, Pericles fostered Athenian democracy to such an extent that critics call him a populist.[2][3]

Related pages


  1. L. de Blois, An Introduction to the Ancient World, 99
  2. S. Muhlberger, Periclean Athens.
  3. S. Ruden, Lysistrata, 80.

Works about Pericles

  • Plato, Gorgias. See original text in Perseus program, from Plato; John Burnet (ed.) (1903). Platonis Opera. Oxford University Press. 
  • Plato, Menexenus. See original text in Perseus program, from Plato; W.R.M. Lamb (trans.) (1925). Plato in Twelve Volumes, Vol. 9. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. ISBN 0-674-99185-0
  • Blois de, Lukas (1997). An Introduction to the Ancient World. Routledge (UK). ISBN 0-415-12774-2
    • Abbott, Evelyn (1898). Pericles and the Golden Age of Athens. G. P. Putnam's Sons. 
    • Brock Roger, Hodkinson Stephen (2003). Alternatives to Athens: Varieties of Political Organization and Community in Ancient Greece. Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-925810-4
    • Gardner, Percy (1902). Ancient Athens. 
    • Grant, Arthur James (1893). Greece in the Age of Pericles. John Murray. 
    • Hesk, John (2000). Deception and Democracy in Classical Athens. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0-521-64322-8
    • Kagan, Donald (1991). Pericles of Athens and the Birth of Democracy. The Free Press. ISBN 0-684-86395-2
    • Lummis, Douglas C. (1997). Radical Democracy. Cornell University Press. ISBN 0-8014-8451-0
    • Ober, Josiah (2001). Political Dissent in Democratic Athens: Intellectual Critics of Popular Rule. Princeton University Press. ISBN 0-691-08981-7
    • Rhodes, P.J. (2005). A History of the Classical Greek World: 478-323 BC. Blackwell Publishing. ISBN 0-631-22565-X
    • Whibley, Leonard (1889). A History of the Classical Greek World: 478-323 BC. University Press. 
    • Gore Vidal, Creation (novel) for a fictional account of Pericles and a Persian view of the wars.