Greece - History
Golden Age of Pericles18-12-2012 15:39
Fifth century BC was a period of Athenian political hegemony, economic growth and cultural flourishing, also known as Classical Greece, the Golden Age of Athens or else The Age of Pericles.
During the years of that period (from 480 BC to 404 BC) what started as an alliance of independent cities-states gradually became an Athenian empire. The Delian League treasury was relocated in Athens, where also the Acropolis was built.
Personalities like Aeschylus, Sophocles, Euripides, Herodotus, Thucydides, Hippocrates and Socrates lived and worked in Athens at that period and were about to leave an extremely influential piece of work as a heritage to us all.
Pericles was a clever person with political visions and a talented speaker, factors that led to a series of success. During his administration, the Athenians were allowed to occupy public offices, even if they were not rich. They could gain a special salary if they attended the courts as jurors, which at the same time gave them the opportunity to dedicate on public service without facing financial hardship, but also gave them public life. Moreover, the city of Athens was becoming a great city with a resplendent culture and democratic institutions.
Athenians only owed obedience to their laws and respect to the Gods, but they were also free to express their opinion, no matter their wealth.
The economic resources of Athens were then based on the treasury of Delian League, as well as some fees and fines paid by the rich, who saw it as an honor to sponsor their city and its needs.
Fifth century was also the Golden Age of sculpture and architecture, as well as a significant period for education and philosophy.
Pericles governed Athens throughout the 5th century BC bringing to the city a splendour and a standard of living never previously experienced. But as it was then proved, he was irreplaceable. The devastating war with Sparta caused such irreparable damage that the city of Athens finally lost its independence in 338 BC, when Philip II of Macedonia conquered the rest of Greece.
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