Who was Pericles?

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

Pericles was one of the greatest Greek statesmen that ever lived. He lived up to his name, which in Greek means surrounded with glory. His dates are 495 – 429 BC. He was a politician, general, orator, and a catalyst for building Athens. In light of these points, no wonder that Thucydides called him the "first citizen of Athens." He also played the most important role in creating Athens into an Empire through the Delian league. In terms of lineage, he descended from the Alcmaenoid family, which played a huge role in the past. In terms of military participation, he fought in the wars against Persia and the first part of the Peloponnesian war.

Pericles also played a role in many of the cultural facets of Athens for which Athens is known today. He was a patron of the arts, literature, and building projects. For instance, he started to build the Acropolis, which still stands today as a testament to the glories of Greek civilization.

His legacy also survives today in the form of government that we have in America. He believed in a democratic form of government for Athens.


Approved by eNotes Editorial Team