Contrasting Views of Classical Athens Pericles and Plato Term Paper

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Greek History

Term Paper on Contrasting Views of Classical Athens Pericles and Plato Assignment

The Pericles is associated with the family which participated actively in the Athenian politics, and is the descendant of the family which 'held high command in the Greek squadron which annihilated the remnants of Xerxes' fleet at Mycale' (Debra, 2002). The Pericles was enriched with knowledge and wisdom, and 'his early training was committed to the ablest and most advanced teachers of that era' (John, 2002), and was able to achieve expertise in music, and powers of dialectic. The personality of the Pericles was the reflection of the 'calm and undaunted attitude of mind' which he actively practiced in the midst of the trails and tribulation. The Pericles adopted tough stand against prejudice and corruption, and tried to ensure that every authority underwent accountability, and supported the trails aimed at the prosecution of the Cimon on the charges of bribery. The Pericles emerged as prominent figure soon after his attack upon the Areopagus, however 'the Aristotelian Constitution of Athens shows conclusively that Pericles was not the leader of this campaign, for it expressly attributes the bulk of the reforms to Ephialtes, and it was Ephialtes, not Pericles, on whom the Conservatives took revenge as the author of their discomfiture' (Debra, 2002). Soon after the fall of the Ephialtes by the dagger, the authority was transferred to Pericles. The Pericles took over the leading and commanding position of the Greek Empire. Initially the ruler was motivated towards expansion of the Athenian power, and different strategies were formulated and conquests were declared and celebrated. During his regime, the hatred against Persia prevailed and the continuation of the support towards Egyptian insurgents against the Persians continued. At parallel, the forces were sent on the mission against Cyprus and Phoenicia, and different several wars initiated against the territories of Greece Proper. During the regime of Pericles, formation of alliance took place with the Megarians, who complained of intense pressure and threat of aggression from their neighbors of Corinth, 'which led to enmity with this latter power and before long Epidaurus and Aegina were drawn into the struggle' (Debra, 2002). The tense situation prevailed at sea during the regime of Pericles, and his forces were able to attain 'decisive victory which enabled them to blockade Aegina' (John, 2002). The forces of Pericles and partisans of Cimon encountered each other, fought separate war against Spartans, 'the Spartans were successful but did not pursue their advantage, and soon afterwards the Athenians, seizing their opportunity, sallied forth again, and, after a victory under Myronides at Oenophyta, obtained the submission of all Boeotia, save Thebes, and of Phocis and Locris. During the same period Tolmides ravaged Laconia and secured Naupactus on the Corinthian gulf, the forces of Pericles defeated the Sicyonians, and made a descent upon Oeniadae at the mouth of the gulf, and conducted an operation against the Thracian Chersonese, thus the period marked the zenith of Athenian greatness'. The detail review of the life and efforts of the Pericles has offered him a place at distinctive level, and appreciated his quest and endeavors. The leader was popular for his inmost thoughts and aspirations. Some of the philosophers including Thucydides have expressed their sympathy and sorrow towards the ruler for his fate and the unfortunate operations which were initiated to harm his interest, and resultantly placed his stakes at jeopardy. Plato has recalled and appreciated the services of the Pericles, and has agreed that 'Aristophanes is obviously a caricaturist, pseudo Xenophon a mere party pamphleteer' (John, 2002), the scholar has deeply appreciated the intellectual capabilities of the Pericles, but has accused him 'of pandering to the mob'. The Pericles left behind deep influence on the future political leadership of the Empire, and therefore the famous Greek leader, the Aristotle referred and appreciated the services and the strategies of the Pericles, 'in his Politics and especially in the Constitution of Athens, which is valuable in that it gives the dates of Pericles' enactments as derived from an official document, accepts the same view' (Debra, 2002). The scholar Plutarch has provided many fascinating details with reference to the personal life, interests and services of the Pericles, and has appreciated his interest in 'home life, and patronage of art, literature and philosophy' (Debra, 2002).

Significance of Pericles and Plato

During the period of war, where the act of aggression were common, and the threat of retaliation were imminent, the Pericles supported Egyptian armament was completely ruined by the Persians, and for that purpose Cimon was recalled by the Pericles to develop an understanding with the Sparta 'on the basis of the status quo' (Simon, 2002). The Pericles then initiated a series of consultation and reconciliation with the other political forces of the region, 'it was probably in order to mark the definite conclusion of the Persian War and to obtain recognition for Athens' (Simon, 2002) work in punishing the Mede that Pericles now proposed a pan-Hellenic congress at Athens to consult about the rebuilding of the ruined temples and the policing of the seas; but owing to the refusal of Sparta the project fell through' (Simon, 2002). The series of consultation resulted in the resumption of the 'aggressive policy in Greece Proper, but the events of the following years completely disillusioned the Pericles' (Susan, 2000); 'an Athenian army, which had marched into Boeotia to quell an insurrection, had to surrender in a body at Coronea, and the price of their ransom was the evacuation of Boeotia. Upon news of this disaster Phocis, Locris and Euboea revolted, and the Megarians massacred their Athenian garrison, while a Spartan army penetrated into Attica as far as Eleusis. In this crisis Pericles induced the Spartan leaders to retreat, apparently by means of a bribe, and hastened to re-conquer Euboea; but the other land possessions could not be recovered, and in a thirty years' truce which was arranged in Athens definitely renounced her predominance in Greece Proper' (Debra, 2002). The series of events forced the Pericles to revise its foreign policy, resultantly the revised foreign policy 'underwent a profound change-to consolidate the naval supremacy or to extend it by a cautious advance' (Susan, 2000) which remained the sole ambition. Pericles adopted extensive policy towards the associates of the Delian League, the leader 'endeavored to turn the allies into subjects' (Debra, 2002). The leader referred to the services of the numerous cleruchies, 'which served the double purpose of securing strategic points to Athens and converting the needy proletariat of the capital into owners of real property', the acquisition of the land was conducted through by 'confiscation from disaffected states or in exchange for a lowering of tribute' (Susan, 2000), the chief of the cleruchies appointed by the Pericles included Thracian Chersonese, Lemnos and Imbros, Andros, Naxos and Eretria, Brea in Thrace, Oreus, Amisus and Astacus in the Black Sea, and Aegina.

In the midst of his reign, the leader was 'sorely hampered by his adversaries at home' (Simon, 2002), the forces of the orthodox Conservatives and some democratic forces were jealous of the influence attained by the Pericles, and these forces considered themselves to be feeble to initiate movement against the leader, and therefore these forces 'combined to assail his nearest friends' (Susan, 2000). The deep associate of the Pericles, the sculptor Pheidias was accused of two vexatious charges, and died during the period of his arrest. The close friend of the leader Anaxagoras, 'was threatened with a law against atheists, and felt compelled to leave Athens' (Susan, 2000), in other case the mistress of the Pericles, the Aspasia was accused of scandalous charge, which the Pericles defeated 'by his personal intercession before the court'. All such events of political and legal nature demoralized the leader. The Pericles was least popular among the public because he adopted rational behavior in religious matters, although 'during his period the evolution of the new culture was imminent' (Loren, 2007). The elements relevant to the rights of women and their role in the society evolved with the growing influence of the Aspasia on Athenian thought, which was responsible for the 'emancipation of the Attic woman from the over strict tutelage in which the woman was confined and limited' (Susan, 2000). The Pericles has been acknowledged for his contribution towards the development of art and literature, his policy primarily focused over the need for the development of drama, the friends of the leader included three renowned Greek writers i.e. The poet Sophocles and the historians Herodotus and Thucydides, which certainly develop more passion in the leader towards arts and literature. The leader is also 'responsible for the epoch making splendor of Attic art in his time' (Debra, 2002), and artist Pheidias was provided with the possible facilities and rewards which influenced the scope of the work and contributed towards its expansion, and all this subsequently resulted in the raising of the Parthenon and other glorious structures. The personality of the Pericles was serene, and his personal characteristics were 'compared to Olympian Zeus, partly because of his dignified bearing, partly by… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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