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The Amazing Pericles


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A group presentation on Pericles and his influence on Ancient Greek theatrical culture

The Amazing Pericles

  1. 1. The Amazing Pericles<br />And The Athenian Democracy<br />
  2. 2. Democracy before Pericles<br /> During the Dark Ages, Athens was ruled by various tyrants and oligarchies. But, eventually, certain leaders would rise up and make changes that would begin to benefit all citizens of Athens and not just the upper class. These men were the founding fathers of Athenian Democracy.<br />
  3. 3. The Founding Fathers of Democracy in Athens<br />Solon <br />Broadened financial and social qualifications for election to public office. Eliminated debt-bondage. <br />May have legislated for more citizen involvement in Assembly and courts, but this is debatable by historians. <br />Clisthenes (Pericles’s maternal grandfather)<br />Organized common masses against potential tyranny/oligarchy take-over. Saw potential in the power of organized people. Established sweeping democratic reform to the constitution.<br />Reorganized the courts and assembly – added more citizen involvement. <br />Broke-up and re-organized tribe system into “demes”, preventing future tyranny. Enrollment in “demes” was a requisite qualification for citizenship. <br />May have established “ostracism” policy. <br />Ephialtes<br />Created democratic reforms that Pericles would carry on. <br />Created reforms that broke up the power of the Areopagus. <br />Assassinated in oligarch plot. <br />
  4. 4. Enter Pericles…<br />Pericles took the democratic reforms from those before him and not only made them better, but also brought the Athenian democracy to its height.<br />
  5. 5. Democracy During Pericles<br />Passed laws that gave direct power to citizens in assembly and courts. <br />Introduced law authorizing payment for jurors, council members, archons, public officials and military men. This allowed lower classes to participate in democratic process.<br />Proposed a decree where the state would cover cost of admission to plays so the poor could attend the performances without restriction.<br />450/451 B.C. – Passed law restricting Athenian citizenship only to those who were born of both native Athenian parents. Before, only one native Athenian parent was required. <br />458 B.C. – members of farmer class (zeugitai) eligible for archonship<br />
  6. 6. How Athenian democracy worked during Pericles's leadership<br />Three main branches of government (though not exactly the same as modern U.S. Government’s branches):<br />Legislative: The Assembly (Ekklesia) <br />Judicial: The Courts (Heliaea)<br />Executive: The Generals (Strategoi) & the Archons.<br />
  7. 7. Who is this Pericles Guy?<br />Pericles came into power after a revolution in 462 BCE which led to death of Ephialtes. <br />Pericles was a democrat, as was the Alcmaeonid tradition<br />Pericles was a realist not a perfectionist<br />Was elected 15 years in succession<br />Law was changed so he could represent all of Athens and not just one tribe.<br />Official title: “General in Chief” <br />After 15 years, Pericles was turned out and fined 15 talents. <br />Later was convinced to run for reelection and won. Again. Twice. <br />
  8. 8. Religion as expediency<br />Like most Politicians Pericles believed in popular religion. <br />Sort of…<br />Pericles primarily used “religion” for expediency more than genuine belief.<br />
  9. 9. Pericles had notorious looks!<br />Pericles had a peculiar and deformed head. <br />In Cratinus’sThrattai he refers to Pericles as the man with the “Seven-couches-head,” and “the Zeus with a peaked head.” <br />
  10. 10. Pericles and the StRategos<br />Strategos translated means “general” or “leader.”<br />The board was comprised of eleven Athenian elected officials. <br />The Strategoi were created by Cleisthenes who took ten members, one from each tribe he originally invisioned them as military support for the commander in chief<br />
  11. 11. So you wanna be a Strategoi?<br />Pericles was elected as the head of the Stratega by the people. <br />All other stratega officials were elected by vote. <br />All members had to be male, of a distinguished family, and had to be evaluated by his age, citizenship, and good character. <br />At any time members could be elected, penalized, fined, or removed from office. <br />
  12. 12. Pericles and Thucydides<br />Thucydides was a historian and speech writer<br />He is recorded speeches he heard Pericles give, and may have even helped write some of them. <br />Pericles was a famous speaker but the author of his speeches was often the subject of debate. <br />Pericles’s mistress Aspasia might have helped in writing The Funeral Oration Speech<br />
  13. 13. The Peloponnesian war !<br />
  14. 14. During the Peloponnesian War<br />Peloponnesian War lasted between 433 to 404 BCE<br />Between Sparta and Athens<br />Pericles died at the beginning of the War.<br />
  15. 15. Athens After the Peloponnesian war<br />Athens surrendered in 404 BCE. End of Athens’s Golden Age. “The Funeral of the Periclean Ideal”. <br />Both sides suffered serious losses. Athenians fought beyond their means. <br />Neither side could defeat the other, resulting peace came as a respect for the balance of power between Sparta and Athens. <br />BUT, peace contained possibility of insecurity. Much infighting among Athenians for power and control. <br />Athens learned harsh lessons of war: Showed the dangers of the will of the majority unchecked in government and that eventually the sufferings of war out weigh any possible benefits of war. <br />