The Golden Age of Athens

Topics: Ancient Greece, Pericles, Athenian democracy, Peloponnesian War, Classical Athens, Athens / Pages: 13 (3122 words) / Published: Sep 6th, 2012
The Golden age of Athens
Fifth-century Athens refers to the Greek city-state of Athens in the period of roughly 480 BC-404 BC. This was a period of Athenian political hegemony, economic growth and cultural flourishing formerly known as the Golden Age of Athens or The Age of Pericles. The period began in 480 BC when an Athenian-led coalition of city-states, known as the Delian League, defeated the Persians at Salamis. As the fifth century wore on, what started as an alliance of independent city-states gradually became an Athenian empire. Eventually, Athens abandoned the pretense of parity among its allies and relocated the Delian League treasury from Delos to Athens, where it funded the building of the AthenianAcropolis. With its enemies under its feet and its political fortunes guided by statesman and orator Pericles, Athens produced some of the most influential and enduring cultural artifacts of the Western tradition. The playwrights Aeschylus, Sophocles and Euripides all lived and worked in fifth century Athens, as did the historians Herodotus and Thucydides, the physician Hippocrates, and the philosopher Socrates.

Overview

During the golden age, Athenian military and external affairs were mostly run by the ten strategoi (or generals) who were elected each year by the ten clans of citizens, and whose supreme command was rotated daily. These strategoi had duties which included planning military expeditions, receiving envoys of other states and directing diplomatic affairs. During the time of the ascendancy of Ephialtes as leader of the democratic faction, Pericles was his deputy. When Ephialtes was assassinated by personal enemies, Pericles stepped in and was elected strategos in 445 BCE, a post he held continuously until his death in 429 BCE, always by election of the Athenian Assembly.

Pericles was a great speaker; this quality brought him great success in the Assembly, presenting his vision of politics. One of his most popular reforms was to allow

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