The Age of Pericles, which, if we reckon from the first entrance of Pericles, into politics, extended from about 466 to 429, has become proverbial as a period of extraordinary artistic and literary splendor. The real ascendancy of Pericles began in 447, and the achievements most properly associated with his name belong to the succeeding fifteen years. Athens at this time possessed ample material resources, derived in great measure from the tribute of subject allies, and wealth was freely spent upon noble monuments of art. The city was fled with artists of high and low degree. Above them all in genius towered Phidias, and to him, if we may believe the testimony of Plutarch, a general superintendence of all the artistic undertakings of the state was intrusted by Pericles.
 Life of Pericles Section 13.
Great as was the fame of Phidias in after ages, we are left in almost complete ignorance as to the circumstances of his life. If he was really the author of certain works ascribed to him, he must have been born about 500 B.C. This would make him as old, perhaps, as Myron. Another view would put his birth between 490 and 485, still another, as late as 480. The one undisputed date in his life is the year 438, when the gold and ivory statue of Athena in the Parthenon was completed. Touching the time and circumstances of his death we have two inconsistent traditions. According to the one, he was brought to trial in Athens immediately after the completion of the Athena on the charge of misappropriating some of the ivory with which he had been intrusted but made his escape to Elis, where, after executing the gold and ivory Zeus for the temple of that god at Olympia he was put to death for some unspecified reason by the Eleans in 432-1.
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