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From Hutton Webster's, Early European History (1917); edited for this on-line publication, by ELLOPOS
II. THE GREAT AGE OF THE GREEK REPUBLICS TO 362 B.C.
» Contents of this ChapterPage 12
ATHENS UNDER PERICLES
The ostracism of Cimon deprived the aristocrats of their most prominent representative. It was possible for the democratic or liberal party to assume complete control of public affairs. Pericles, their leader and champion, was a man of studious habits. He never appeared on the streets except when walking between his house and the popular assembly or the market place, kept rigidly away from dinners and drinking bouts, and ruled his household with strict economy that he might escape the suspicion of enriching himself at the public expense. He did not speak often before the people, but came forward only on special occasions; and the rarity of his utterances gave them added weight. Pericles was a thorough democrat, but he used none of the arts of the demagogue. He scorned to flatter the populace. His power over the people rested on his majestic eloquence, on his calm dignity of demeanor, and above all on his unselfish devotion to the welfare of Athens.
AGE OF PERICLES, 461-429 B.C.
The period, about thirty years in length, between the ostracism of Cimon and the death of Pericles, forms the most brilliant epoch in Greek history. Under the guidance of Pericles the Athenian naval empire reached its widest extent. Through his direction Athens became a complete democracy. Inspired by him the Athenians came to manifest that love of knowledge, poetry, art, and all beautiful things which, even more than their empire or their democracy, has made them famous in the annals of mankind. The Age of Pericles affords, therefore, a convenient opportunity to set forth the leading features of Athenian civilization in the days of its greatest glory.
Cf. The Ancient Greece * The Ancient Rome
Eastern Roman Empire (Byzantium) * Western Medieval Europe * Renaissance in Italy