Pericles Biography

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1 The aristocrat Pericles was responsible in every way for the development of the Athenian democracy. Pericles was one of the rare men who didn’t just accept the world’s conditions, but he tried to shape it to an image in his mind, the image of a perfect, or almost perfect democracy.# He was a high government official in the Athenian democracy during the years 446-429 B.C., which is now called the Periclean Age. He wasn’t the founder or inventor of democracy but he came to its leadership 50 years after it started while it was still growing or developing. Under his rule, Athens developed a direct democracy which allowed many citizens to take part in the day-to-day government affairs. Athenian power and influences increases with this. Pericles founded Athenian colonies, helping to convert a coalition into an Athenian empire.#

2 In the 450s, under his leadership, the Athenian assembly passed a series of laws that went far toward establishing a democratic constitution. Pericles believed glory and immortality could be achieved by citizens of democracy based on legal and political equality. He intended to create a new quality of life.# “Pericles felt that he must show democracy would bring to all Athenian citizens the advantage reserved for the well-born few. The democracy would encourage merit in its traditional form and reward it with victory, glory, and immortality.”# This paper will examine Pericles and his effect on the Athenian democracy. Pericles was very important to the development of the Athenian democracy because he didn’t differentiate the poor and the wealthy.

3 Pericles’ influences as a child were the philosophers Damon and Anaxagoras of Clazomenae, who many people called “Nous”, for mind or intelligence.# Damon was sup...

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...ay workers, so people who were poor but worked on the buildings, got money.

8 Pericles was chosen to give the funeral oration over the men who had died in battle at Samos which was greatly admired. The funeral oration was delivered during a war that was clearly going to continue for awhile. It’s main purpose was to explain why they had the rights to risk their lives and why the living should be willing to do this. In it he said the men who died, died for Athens. He talked to do mothers and wives of the fallen men telling them that the men died for a good reason. They died for their love of Athens.

9 Pericles helped the Athenian democracy develop from when it was a fragile 50 yr. government to a strong government. Pericles was a very important man to the Athenian democracy. In fact, Thucydides, his contemporary historian, praises him as "the first citizen of Athens”.
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