Pericles -495 - -429 (66)

Time is the king of all men, he is their parent and their grave, and gives them what he will and not what they crave.



3.The good things of Fortune we love to possess and enjoy; those of Virtue we long to perform. The former we are willing should be ours at the hands of others; the latter we wish that others rather should have at our hands. The Good creates a stir of activity towards itself, and implants at once in the spectator an active impulse; it does not form his character by ideal representation alone, but through the investigation of its work it furnishes him with a dominant purpose.

4 For such reasons I have decided to persevere in my writing of Lives, and so have composed this tenthb book, containing the life of Pericles, and that of Fabius Maximus, who waged such lengthy war with Hannibal. The men were alike in their virtues, and more especially in their gentleness and rectitude, and by their ability to endure the follies of their peoples and of their colleagues in office, they proved of the greatest service to their countries.

Pericles was a prominent and influential Greek statesman, orator and general of Athens during theGolden Age— specifically the time between the Persian and Peloponnesian wars. He was born in Athens, son of the politician Xanthippus, who, though ostracized in 485–484 BC, returned to Athens to command, just five years later, the Athenian contingent in the Greek victory at Mycale. Pericles' mother was Agariste, a member of the powerful and controversial noble family of the Alcmaeonidae, niece of the Athenian reformer Cleisthenes.

Pericles, following Athenian custom, was first married to one of his closest relatives, with whom he had two sons, but around 445 BC, Pericles divorced his wife. He offered her to another husband, with the agreement of her male relatives. The woman he really adored was Aspasia of Miletus. She became Pericles' mistress and they began to live together as if they were married. This relationship aroused many reactions and even Pericles' own son, Xanthippus, who had political ambitions, did not hesitate to slander his father. Nonetheless, these persecutions did not undermine his morale.

He had a profound influence on Athenian society, turned the Delian League into an Athenian empire, and led his countrymen during the first two years of the Peloponnesian War. The period during which he led Athens, roughly from 461 to 429 BC, is known as the "Age of Pericles". He promoted the arts and literature; in his days, Athens became the educational and cultural center of the ancient world. He started an ambitious project that generated most of the surviving structures on the Acropolis (including the Parthenon). This project beautified and protected the city, exhibited its glory, and gave work to the people. Pericles also fostered Athenian democracy to such an extent that critics call him a populist.

Some analyst argue that a basic element of Pericles' legacy is Athenian imperialism, which denies true democracy and freedom to the people of all but the ruling state. The promotion of such an arrogant imperialism is said to have ruined Athens. Other analysts maintain an Athenian humanism illustrated in the Golden Age. The freedom of expression is regarded as the lasting legacy deriving from this period.

His greatest personal tragedy was the death of his sister and of both his legitimate sons, Xanthippus and Paralus, in 429 BC, all affected by the epidemic that killed ¼ of Athenians. He never managed to overcome the calamity and died the same year from the same epidemic.