Pericles: A Sourcebook and Reader

Pericles: A Sourcebook and Reader

Pericles: A Sourcebook and Reader

Pericles: A Sourcebook and Reader

Synopsis

Pericles, Greece's greatest statesman and the leader of its Golden Age, created the Parthenon and championed democracy in Athens and beyond. Centuries of praise have endowed him with the powers of a demigod, but what did his friends, associates, and fellow citizens think of him? In Pericles: A Sourcebook and Reader, Stephen V. Tracy visits the fifth century B.C. to find out. Tracy compiles and translates the scattered, elusive primary sources relating to Pericles. He brings Athens's political atmosphere to life with archaeological evidence and the accounts of those close to Pericles, including Thucydides, Aristophanes, Herodotus, Protagoras, Sophocles, Lysias, Xenophon, Plato, and Plutarch. Readers will discover Pericles as a formidable politician, a persuasive and inspiring orator, and a man full of human contradictions.

Excerpt

The century began with the Persian Wars when the Persians attacked Greece and Athens, first in 490 under Darius and then in 480/79 under his son Xerxes. There were memorable battles: Marathon in 490 where the Athenians soundly defeated the Persians; then in 480/79 Thermopylae, scene of the slaughter of the 300 Spartans by the Persians; Salamis, where in the straits between the island and the mainland the Athenian navy defeated the Persian fleet; and finally the Spartan-led victory over the land troops of Xerxes at Plataea (see map 1). These battles Herodotus recounted in epic fashion in his Histories. The Greeks were led in the fighting by the Spartans and the Athenians, who were allies at the time. At the end of the war the Spartans were the dominant force in the loosely formed Peloponnesian League but were content, in fact, to return home to Lacedaemon. The Athenians . . .

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