Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography and Mythology/Pericles

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PERICLES (Περικλῆς). 1. The greatest of Athenian statesmen, was the son of Xanthippus, under whose command the victory of Mycale was gained, and of Agariste, the great grand- daughter of Cleisthenes, tyrant of Sicyon, and niece of Cleis- thenes, the founder of the later Athenian con- stitution. (Herod, vi. 131 ; comp. Cleisthenes.) Both Herodotus {I. c.) and Plutarch have thought the story, that before his birth his mother dreamed that she gave birth to a lion, of sufficient interest to deserve recording. Pericles belonged to the deme Cholargos in the tribe Acamantis. The date of his birth is not known. The early period of his life was spent in retirement, in the prose- cution of a course of study in which his noble genius found the most appropriate means for its cultivation and expansion ; till, on emerging from his obscurity, his unequalled capabilities rapidly raised him to that exalted position which thence- forwards he maintained throughout the whole of his long and brilliant career till his death. His rank and fortune enabled him to avail himself of the instructions of all those who were most eminent in their several sciences and professions. Music, which formed so essential an element in the educa- tion of a Greek, he studied under Pythocleides (Aristot. ap. Plut- Per. 3 ; Plat. Alcib. p. 118. c.) The musical instructions of Damon were, it is said, but a pretext ; his real lessons having for their sub- ject political science. Pericles was the first states- man who recognised the importance of philoso- phical studies as a training for his future career ; he devoted his attention to the subtleties of the Eleatic school, under the guidance of Zeno of Elea. But the philosopher who exercised the most important and lasting influence on his mind, and to a very large extent formed his habits and cha- racter, was Anaxagoras. [Anaxagoras.] With this great and original thinker, the propounder of the sublimest doctrine which Greek philosophy had yet developed, that the arrangements of the uni- verse are the dispositions of an ordering intelli- gence, Pericles lived on terms of the most intimate friendship, till the philosopher was compelled to retire from Athens. From him Pericles was be- PERICLES. lieved to have derived not only the cast of his mind, but the character of his eloquence, which, in the elevation of its sentiments, and the purity and loftiness of its style, was the fitting expression of the force and dignity of his character and the grandeur of his conceptions. Of the oratory of Pericles no specimens remain to us, but it appears to have been characterised by singular force and energy. He was described as thundering and lightening when he spoke, and as carrying the weapons of Zeus upon his tongue (Plut. Moral. p. 118, d. ; Diod. xii. 40; Aristoph. Acharn. 503 ; Cic. de Oral iii. 34 ; Quintil. x. 1. § 82.) The epithet Olympius which was given to him was generally understood as referring to his elo- quence. By the unanimous testimony of ancient authors his oratory was of the highest kind. (Plat. Phaedr. p. 269, e.) His orations were the result of elaborate preparation ; he used himself to say that he never ascended the bema without pray- ing that no inappropriate word might drop from his lips. (Quintil. xii. 9. § 13.) According to Suidas (s. r. UepiKX.), Pericles was the first who committed a speech to writing before delivery. The influence of Anaxagoras was also traced in the deportment of Pericles, the lofty bearing and calm and easy dignity of which were sustained by an almost unrivalled power of self-command. The most annoying provocation never made him forsake his dignified composure. His voice was sweet, and his utterance rapid and distinct ; in which respect, as well as in his personal appearance, he resembled Peisistratus. His figure was graceful and majestic, though a slight deformity in the disproportionate length of his head furnished the comic poets of the day with an unfailing theme for their pleasantry, and procured him the nicknames of fTxivoK€<paKos and KecpaArjyfpeTrjS. In his youth he stood in some fear of the people, and, aware of the resemblance which was dis- covered in him to Peisistratus, he was fearful of exciting jealousy and alarm ; but as a soldier he conducted himself with great intrepidity. How- ever, when Aristeides was dead,Themistocles ostra- cised, and Cimon much engaged in military expe- ditions at a distance from Greece, he began to take a more active part in the political movements of the time. In putting himself at the head of the more democratical party in the state, there can be no question that he was actuated by a sincere pre- dilection. The whole course of his political career proves such to have been the case. There is not the slightest foundation for the contrary suppo- sition, except that his personal character seemed to have greater affinities with the aristocratical portion of the community. If he ever entertained the slightest hesitation, his hereditary preposses- sions as the grand-nephew of Cleisthenes would have been quite sufficient to decide his choice. That that choice was determined by selfish mo- tives, or political rivalry, are suppositions which, as they have nothing to rest upon, and are con- tradicted by the whole tenor of his public life, are worth absolutely nothing. As his political career is stated to have lasted above forty years (Plut. Cic. I.e.), it must have been somewhat -before B, c. 469 when he first came forward. He then devoted himself with the greatest assiduity to public affairs ; was never to be seen in the streets except on his way to the place of assembly or the senate j and withdrew

entirely from the convivial meetings of his ac- quaintance, once only breaking through this rule to lionour the marriage of his nephew Euryp- tolemus, and admitting to his society and con- fidence only a few intimate friends. He took care, however, not to make himself too cheap, re- serving himself for great occasions, and putting forward many of his propositions through his par- tisans. Among the foremost and most able of these was Plphialtes. [Ephialtes.]

The fortune of Pericles, which, that his in- tegrity might be kept free even from suspicion, was husbanded with the strictest economy under the careful administration of his steward Euan- gelus, insomuch as even to excite the discontent of the women of his household, was not sufficient to enable Pericles out of his private resources to vie with the profuse liberality of Cimon. Accordingly, to ingratiate himself with the people, he followed the suggestion of his friend Demonides, to make the public treasury available for similar objects, and proposed a series of measures having for their object to provide the poorer citizens not only with amusement, but with the means of subsistence. To enable them to enjoy the theatrical amuse- ments, he got a law passed that they should receive from the public treasury the price of their admittance, amounting to two oboluses apiece. The measure was unwise as a precedent, and being at a later period carried to a much greater extent in connection with various other festivals led to the establishment of the Theoric fund. {Did. of ATzirquilies, art. Theorica.) Another measure, in itself unobjectionable and equitable, was one which ordained that the citizens who served in the courts of the Heliaea should be paid for their attendance {jxiaQos SiKaaTinds — rh riKiacTTiKov). It was of course not in the power of Pericles to foresee the mischievous increase of litigation which charac- terised Athens at a later time, or to anticipate the propositions of later demagogues by whom the pay was tripled, and the principle of payment ex- tended to attendance at the public assembly : a measure which has been erroneously attributed to Pericles himself. (Bockh, Public Econ. of Athens^ ii. § 14.) According to Ulpian (ad Demosth. irepl crvvTCL^. p. 50, a.) the practice of paying the citi- zens who served as soldiers was first introduced by Pericles. To affirm that in proposing these mea- sures Pericles did violence to his better judgment in order to secure popularity, would be to do him a great injustice. The whole course of his ad- ministration, at a time when he had no rival to dispute his pre-eminence, shows that these mea- sures were the results of a settled principle of policy, that the people had a right to all the ad- vantages and enjoyments that could be procured for them by the proper expenditure of the treasures of which they were masters. That in proposing them he was not insensible to the popularity which would accrue to their author, may be ad- mitted without fixing any very deep stain upon his character. The lessons of other periods of history will show that the practice of wholesale largess, of which Cimon was beginning to set the example, is attended with influences even more corrupting and dangerous. If Pericles thought so, his measures, though perverted to mischief through conseqiuMices beyond his foresight or con- trol, must be admitted to have been wise and statesmanlike, and not the less so because they were dexterously timed for the advancement of his personal influence.

The first occasion on which we find the two rival parties assuming anything like a hostile at- titude towards each other, was when Cimon, on his return from Thasos, was brought to trial [Cimon, Vol. I. p. 750]. Pericles was one of those appointed to conduct the impeachment. But whether the prosecution was not according to his wishes, or he had yielded to the intercession of Elpinice, he only rose once, for form's sake, and put forth none of his eloquence. The result, ac- cording to Plutarch, was, that Cimon was acquitted. It was shortly after this, that Pericles, secure in the popularity which he had acquired, assailed the aristocracy in its strong-hold, the Areiopagus. Here, again, the prominent part in the proceed- ings was taken by Ephialtes, who in the assembly moved the psephisma by which the Areiopagus was deprived of those functions which rendered it formidable as an antagonist to the democra- tical party. The opposition which Cimon and his party might have offered was crippled by the events connected with the siege of Ithome ; and in B.C. 461 the measure was passed. That Pericles was influenced by jealousy because, owing to his not having been archon, he had no seat in the council, or that Ephialtes seconded his views out of revenge for an offence that had been given him in the council, are notions which, though indeed they have no claims to attention, have been satis- factorily refuted (comp. Miiller, Eumenides, 2d Dissert. I. A.) Respecting the nature of the change eflfected in the jurisdiction of the Areio- pagus, the reader is referred to the Dictionary of Antiquities^ art. Areiopagus. This success was soon followed by the ostracism of Cimon, who was charged with Laconism.

In B. c. 457 the unfortunate battle of Tanagra took place. The request made by Cimon to be allowed to take part in the engagement was re- jected through the influence of the friends of Pericles ; and Cimon having left his panoply for his friends to fight round, Pericles, as if in emula- tion of them, performed prodigies of valour. We do not learn distinctly what part he took in the movements which ensued. The expedition to Egypt he disapproved of ; and through his whole career he showed himself averse to those ambitious schemes of foreign conquest which the Athenians were fond of cherishing ; and at a later period effectually withstood the dreams of conquest in Sicily, Etruria, and Carthage, which, in con- sequence of the progress of Greek settlements in the West, some of the more enterprising Athenians had begun to cherish. In b. c. 454, after the failure of the expedition to Thessaly, Pericles led an ar- mament which embarked at Pegae, and invaded the territory of Sicyon, routing those of the Si- cyonians who opposed him. Then, taking with him some Achaean troops, he proceeded to Acar- nania, and besieged Oeniadae, though without suc- cess (Thucyd. i. 1 11 ). It was probably after these events (Thirlwall, Hist, of Greece^ vol. iii. p. 34), that the recal of Cimon took place. If there was some want of generosity in his ostracism, Pericles at least atoned for it by himself proposing the decree for his recal. The story of the private compact entered into between Pericles and Cimon through the intervention of Elpinice, that Cimon should have the command abroad, while Pericles took the lead at home, is one which might safely have been questioned had it even rested on better authority than that of the gossip-mongers through whom Plutarch became acquainted with it.

It was not improbably about this time that Pericles took some steps towards the realisation of a noble idea which he had fonned, of uniting all the Grecian states in one general confederation. He got a decree passed for inviting all the Hellenic states in Europe and Asia to send deputies to a congress, to be held at Athens, to deliberate in the first place about rebuilding the temples burnt by the Persians, and providing the sacrifices vowed in the time of danger ; but also, and this was the most important part of the scheme, about the means of securing freedom and safety of navigation in every direction, and of establishing a general peace between the different Hellenic states. To bear these proposals to the different states, twenty men were selected of above fifty years of age, who were sent in detachments of five in different directions. But through the jealousy and counter machinations of Sparta, the project came to nothing.

In B. c. 448 the Phocians deprived the Delphians of the oversight of the temple and the guardianship of the treasures in it. In this they seem at least to have relied on the assistance of the Athenians, if the proceeding had not been suggested by them. A Lacedaemonian force proceeded to Phocis, and restored the temple to the Delphians, who granted to Sparta the right of precedence in consulting the oracle. But as soon as the Lacedaemonians had retired, Pericles appeared before the city with an Athenian army, replaced the Phocians in posses- sion of the temple, and had the honour which had been granted to the Lacedaemonians trans- ferred to the Athenians (Thucyd. i. 112). Next year (b. c. 447), when preparations were being made by Tolmides, to aid the democratical party in the towns of Boeotia in repelling the efforts and machinations of the oligarchical exiles, Pericles op- posed the measure as rash and unseasonable. His advice was disregarded at the time ; but when, a few days after, the news arrived of the disaster at Coroneia, he gained great credit for his wise caution and foresight. The ill success which had attended the Athenians on this occasion seems to have aroused the hopes of their enemies ; and when the five years' truce had expired (b. c. 445), a general and concerted attack was made on them. Euboea revolted ; and before Pericles, who had crossed over with an army to reduce it, could effect any- thing decisive, news arrived of a revolution in Me- gara and of the massacre of the greater part of the Athenian garrison, the rest of whom had fled to Nisaea ; and intelligence was also brought of the approach of a Lacedaemonian army under the com- mand of Pleistoanax, acting under the guidance of Cleandridas. Pericles, abandoning Euboea for the present, at once marched back to Athens. The Peloponnesians had already begun to ravage the country ; Pericles, with his usual prudence, declined the risk of a battle ; he found a bribe [1] a simpler and safer way of getting rid of the enemy [Clbax- DRiDAS, Pleistoanax]. When this morcj im- portant enemy had been disposed of, Pericles re- turned to Euboea with an armament of 50 galleys and 5000 heavy-armed soldiers, by which all re- sistance was overpowered. The land-owners of Chalcis (or at least some of them, — see Tliirlwall, vol. iii. p, 57) were stripped of their estates. On the Histiaeans, who had given deeper provocation by murdering the whole crew of an Athenian galley which fell into their hands, a severer ven- geance was inflicted. They were expelled from their territory, on which was settled a colony of 2000 Athenians, in a new town, Oreus, which took the place of Histiaea. These events were fol- lowed by the thirty years' truce, the Athenians consenting to evacuate Troezen, Pegae, Nisaea, and Achaea. The influence of the moderate counsels of Pericles may probably be traced in their consenting to submit to such terms. The conjecture hazarded by Bishop Thirlvvall (vol. iii. p. 44), that the treaty was the work of the party opposed to Pericles, seems improbable. It may at least be assumed that the terms were not opposed by Pericles. The moment when his deeply-rooted and increasing influence had just been strengthened by the brilliant success which had crowned his exertions to rescue Athens from a most perilous position, would hardly have been chosen by his political opponents as one at which to set their policy in opposition to his.

After the death of Cimon the aristocratical party was headed by Thucydides, the son of Melesias. He formed it into a more regular organization, producing a more marked separation between it and the democratical party. Though a better po- litical tactician than Cimon, Thucydides was no match for Pericles, either as a politician or as an orator, which, indeed, he acknowledged, when once, being asked by Archidamus whether he or Pericles was the better wrestler, he replied that when he threw Pericles the latter always managed to per- suade the spectators that he had never been down. The contest between the two parties was brought to an issue in b. c. 444, Thucydides and his party opposed the lavish expenditure of the public treasure on the magnificent and expensive buildings with which Pericles was adorning the city, and on the festivals and other amusements which he instituted for the amusement of the citizens. In reply to the clamour which was raised against him in the as- sembly, Pericles offered to discharge the expense of the works, on condition that the edifices should be inscribed with his name, not with that of the people of Athens. The assembly with acclamation em- powered him to spend as much as he pleased. The contest was soon after decided by ostracism, and Pericles was left without a rival ; nor did anj' one throughout the remainder of his political course appear to contest his supremacy. Notliing could be more dignified or noble than the attitude which under these circumstances he assumed towards the people. The boundless influence which he possessed was never perverted by him to sinister or unworthy purposes. So far from being a mere selfish de- magogue, he neither indulged nor courted the mul- titude. " As long as he was at the head of the state in peace he administered its afi'airs with mo- deration, and kept a safe guard over it, and it became in his time very great. Being powerful on the ground both of his reputation and of his judg- ment, and having clearly shown himself thoroughly incorruptible, he restrained the multitude with freedom, and was not so much led by it as himself led it, because he did not seek to acquire power by unworthy means, bringing forward propositions which would gratify the people, but on the ground of his high character being able to speak in oppo- sition even to its angry feelings. And so, whenever he saw them insolently confident beyond what the occasion justified, by his speeches he reduced them to a more wary temper, and when on the other hand they were unreasonably alarmed, he restored them again to confidence. And there was in name a democracy, but in reality a government in the hands of the first man" (Thucyd. ii. 65). After the ostracism of Thucydides the organized oppo- sition of the aristocratical party was broken up, though, as we shall see, the malevolence of the enemies of Pericles exposed him subsequently to some troublesome contests.

A few years after the commencement of the 30 years' truce a war broke out between Samos and Miletus about the towns of Priene and Anaea. The Milesians, being vanquished, applied for help to Athens, and were backed by the democratical party in Samos itself. So favourable an opportunity for carrying out the policy which Athens pursued towards her allies was quite sufiicient to render the intervention of Aspasia unnecessary for the purpose of inducing Pericles to support the cause of the Milesians. The Samians were commanded to desist from hostilities, and submit their dispute to the decision of an Athenian tribunal. This they showed themselves slow to do, and Pericles was sent with a fleet of 40 galleys to enforce the com- mands of the Athenians. He established a demo- cratical constitution in Samos, and took 100 hos- tages from the oligarchical party, which he lodged in Lemnos. He also levied a contribution of 80 talents. The bribe of a talent from each of the hostages, with a large sum besides from the oligar- chical party and from Pissuthnes, the satrap of Sardes, is said to have been offered to Pericles to induce him to relinquish his intention, and of course refused. He then returned, leaving a small gar- rison of Athenians in Samos. When he had left, a body of Samians, who had left the island as he approached, having concerted measures with Pis- suthnes, recovered the hostages, overpowered the Athenian garrison and their political opponents, and renounced the Athenian alliance. A Phoenician fleet was promised to assist them ; the enemies of Athens in Greece were urged, though without f-uccess, to take up the cause of the Samians ; and Byzantium was induced to join in the revolt. Pericles, with nine colleagues and a fleet of 60 vessels, returned to put down the revolt. Detach- ments were sent to get reiniorcements from the other allies, and to look out for the Phoenician fleet. With the remaining ships, amounting to 44 in number, Pericles attacked a Samian fleet of 70, as it was returning from Miletus, and gained the victory. Having received reinforcements, he landed a body of troops, drove the Samians within the walls, and proceeded to invest the town. A victory, though probably a slight one, was gained by the Samians under the command of Melissus [Melissus], and Pericles, with 60 ships, sailed to meet the Phoenician fleet. In his absence, the force which he had left behind was defeated, and the Samians exerted themselves actively in intro- ducing supplies into the town. On the return of Pericles they were again closely besieged. An ad- ditional squadron of 40 ships was sent from Athens under the command of Hagnon, Phormion, and Thucydides. The Samians, being again decisively defeated in a sea-fight, were closely blockaded. Though Pericles is said to have made use of some new kinds of battering engines, the Samians held out resolutelj"^, and murmurs were heard among the Athenian soldiers, whose dissolute habits (comp. Athen. xiii. p. 572, e.) soon rendered them weary of the tedious process of blockade. There is a story that, in order to pacify them, Pericles divided his army into eight parts, and directed them to cast lots, the division which drew a white bean being allowed to feast and enjoy themselves, while the others carried on the military operations. At the end of nine months the Samians capitulated, on condition that they should give up their ships, dis- mantle their fortifications, and pay the cost of the siege by instalments. Their submission was speedily followed by that of the Byzantines. On his return to Athens, Pericles celebrated with great magni- ficence the obsequies of those who had fallen in the war. He was chosen to deliver the customary oration. At its close the women who were present showered upon him their chaplets and garlands. Elpinice alone is said to have contrasted his hard- won triumph with the brilliant victories of her brother Cimon. Pericles had indeed good reason to be proud of his success ; for Thucydides (viii. 76) does not scruple to say that the Samians were within a very little of wresting from the Athenians their maritime supremacy. But the comparison with the Trojan War, if ever really made, was more likely to have come from some sycophantic partisan, than from Pericles himself. (Plut. /. c; Thucyd. i. 115—117 ; Died. xii. 27, 28 ; Suidas, s. V. :S,aixia}u 6 Stj/xos ; Aelian, V. H. ii. 9 ; Aristoph. Acharn. 850.)

Between the Samian war, which terminated in B. c. 440, and the Peloponnesian war, which began in B. c. 431, the Athenians were not engaged in any considerable military operations. On one occasion, though the date is uncertain, Pericles conducted a great anuament to the Euxine, ap- parently with very little object beyond that of dis- playing the power and maritime supremacy of tlie Athenians, overawing the barbarians, and strength- ening the Athenian influence in the cities in that quarter. Sinope was at the time under the power of the tyrant Timesilaus. Application was made to Pericles for assistance to expel the tyrant. A body of troops, which was left under the com- mand of Lamachus, succeeded in effecting tliis object, and a body of 600 Athenians was after- wards sent to take possession of the confiscated property of the tyrant and his partisans.

While the Samian war was a consequence of the policy which Athens exercised towards her allies, the issue of it tended greatly to confirm that direct authority which she exercised over them. This policy did not originate with Pericles, but it was quite in accordance with his views, and was carried out by him in the most complete man- ner. By the commutation of military service for tribute, many of the allied states had been stripped of their means of defence in the time of Cimon. It appears, however, to have been on the proposition of Pericles that the treasure of the con- federacy was removed from Delos to Athens (about B. c. 461 ; see Bdckh, Public Econ. of Ath. bk. iii. c. 15), and openly appropriated to objects which had no immediate connection with the pur- pose for which the confederacy was first formed, and the contributions levied. In justification of this procedure, Pericles urged that so long as the Athenians fulfilled their part of the compact, by securing the safety of their allies against the attacks of the Persian power, they were not obliged to render any account of the mode in which the money was expended ; and if they accomplished the object for which the alliance was formed with so much vigour and skill as to have a surplus treasure remaining out of the funds contributed by the allies, they had a right to expend that surplus in any way they pleased. Under the administra- tion of Pericles the contributions were raised from 4G0 to 600 talents. The greater part of this in- crease may have arisen from the commutation of service for money. There is nothing to show that any of the states were more heavily burdened than before (see Bockh, Public Econ. bk. iii. c. 15, p. 400, 2nd ed.). The direct sovereignty which the Athenians claimed over their allies was also exer- cised in most instances in establishing or support- ing democratical government, and in compelling all those who were reduced to the condition of sub- ject allies to refer, at all events, the more im- portant of their judicial causes to the Athenian courts for trial (Bockh, iii. c. 16). Pericles was not insensible to the real nature of the supremacy which Athens thus exercised. He admitted that it was of the nature of a tyranny (Thucyd. ii. 63). In defence of the assumption of it he would doubtless have urged, as the Athenian ambas- sadors did at Sparta, that the Athenians deserved their high position on account of their noble sacri- fices in the cause of Greece, since any liberty which the Greek states enjoyed was the result of that self-devotion ; that the supremacy was offered to them, not seized by force ; and that it was the jealousy and hostility of Sparta which rendered it necessary for the Athenians in self-defence to con- vert their hegemony into a dominion, which every motive of national honour and interest urged them to maintain ; that the Athenians had been more moderate in the exercise of their dominion than could have been expected, or than any other state would have been under similar circumstances ; and that the right of the Athenians had been tacitly acquiesced in by the Lacedaemonians themselves tmtil actual causes of quarrel had arisen between them. (Thucyd. i. 73, &c., especially 75, 76.) In point of fact, wo find the Corinthians at an earlier period, in the congress held to deliberate respecting the application of the Sauiians, openly laying down the maxim that each state had a right to punish its own allies. (Thucyd. i. 40.) If Pericles did not rise above the maxims of his times and country, his political morality was cer- tainly not belov/ that of the age ; nor would it be easy even in more modern times to point out a nation or statesman whose procedure in similar circumstances would have been widely different.

The empire which arose out of this consolida- tion of the Athenian confederacy, was still further strengthened by planting colonies, which com- monly stood to the parent state in that peculiar relation which was understood by the term KT]povxoi. {Diet, of Ant. art. Colonia.) Colonies of this kind were planted at Oreus in Euboea, at Chalcis, in Naxos, Andros, among the Thra- cians, and in the Thracian Chersonesus. The settlement at Sinope has been already spoken of. The important colony of Thurii was founded in B. c. 444. Amphipolis was founded by Hagnon in B. c. 437. These colonies also served the very important purpose of drawing off from Athens a large part of the more troublesome and needy citizens, whom it might have been found difficult to keep employed at a time when no military operations of any great magnitude were being carried on. Pericles, however, was anxious rather for a well consolidated empire than for an extensive dominion, and therefore refused to sanction those plans of extensive conquest which many of his contemporaries had begun to cherish. Such at- tempts, surrounded as Athens was by jealous rivals and active enemies, he knew would be too vast to be attended with success.

Pericles thoroughly understood that the supre- macy which it was his object to secure for Athens rested on her maritime superiority. The Athenian navy was one of the objects of his especial care. A fleet of 60 galleys was sent out every year and kept at sea for eight months, mainly, of course, for the purpose of training the crews, though the sub- sistence thus provided for the citizens who served in the fleet was doubtless an item in his calcula- tions. To render the communication between Athens and Peiraeeus still more secure, Pericles built a third wall between the two first built, parallel to the Peiraic wall.

The internal administration of Pericles is charac- terised chiefly by the mode in which the public treasures were expended. The funds derived from the tribute of the allies and other sources were devoted to a large extent to the erection of those magnificent temples and public buildings which rendered Athens the wonder and admiration of Greece. A detailed description of the splendid structures which crowned the Acropolis, belongs rather to an account of Athens. The Propylaea, and the Parthenon, with its sculptured pediments and statue of Athene, exhibited a perfection of art never before seen, and never since surpassed. Besides these, the Odeum, a theatre designed for the musical entertainments which Pericles appended to the festivities of the Panathenaea, was con- structed under his direction ; and the temples at Eleusis and other places in Attica, which had been destroyed by the Persians, were rebuilt. The rapidity with which these works were finished excited astonishment. The Propylaea, the most expensive of them, was finished in five years. Under the stimulus afforded by these works archi- tecture and sculpture reached their highest perfec- tion, and some of the greatest artists of antiquity were employed in erecting or adorning the build- ings. The chief direction and oversight of the public edifices was entrusted to Pheidias, under whose superintendence were employed his two pupils Alcamenes and Agoracritus, Ictinus and Callicrates the architects of the Parthenon, Mne- sicles the architect of the Propylaea, Coroebus the architect who began the temple at Eleusis, Calli- machus, Metagenes, Xenocles and others. These works calling into activity, as they did in various ways, almost every branch of industry and com- merce at Athens, diifused universal prosperity while they proceeded. Such a variety of instru- ments and materials were now needed, that there could hardly be an artisan in the city who would not find scope for his industry and skill ; and as every art required the services of a number of subordinate labourers, every class of the labouring citizens found employment and support. This, however, though a most important object, and one which Pericles had distinctly in view, was not the only one which he set before himself in this ex- penditure. Independently of the gratification of his personal taste, which in this respect accorded with that of the people, his internal and external policy formed parts of one whole. While he raised Athens to that supremacy which in his judgment she deserved to possess, on account both of the natural capabilities of the people and the glorious sacrifices which they had made for the safety and freedom not of themselves only but of Greece, the magnificent aspect which the city assumed under his directions was designed to keep alive among the people a present consciousness of their great- ness and power. (Comp. Demosth. Aristocr, p. 689, Mid. p. 565.) This feature of his policy is distinctly expressed in the speech delivered by him over the slain in the first winter of the Pelopon- nesian war, a speech equally valuable as an em- bodiment of his views, whether the sentiments contained in it be, as is most probable, such as he actually delivered, or such as his contemporary Thucydides knew him to entertain (Thucyd. ii. 35 — 46). He calls upon the survivors to resolve that the spirit they cherish towards their enemies shall be no less daring than that of those who had fallen ; considering not alone the immediate benefit resulting from repelling their enemies, but rather the power of the city, contemplating it in reality daily, and becoming lovers (epaa-rds) of it ; and whenever it seems to them to be great, consider- ing that men acquired this magnificence by daring, and judging what was necessary, and maintaining a sense of honour in action (c. 48). The design of his policy was that Athens should be thoroughly prepared for war, while it contained within itself every thing that could render the citizens satisfied with peace ; to make them conscious of their great- ness, and inspire them with that self-reliance and elastic vigour, which was a surer safeguard than all the jealous measures resorted to by the Spartans (c. 36 — 39). Nothing could well be further from the truth than the estinmte Plato formed of the policy of Pericles, if he makes Socrates express his own views, in saying that Pericles made the Athenians idle, and cowardly, and talkative, and money-loving, by first accustoming them to receive pay {Gorg. p. 515, e.). The great object of Pencles was to get the Athenians to set before themselves a great ideal of what Athens and an Athenian ought to be. His commendations of the national characteristics partook quite as much of the nature of exhortation as of that of praise. This object, of leading the Athenians to value highly their station and privileges as Athenian citizens, may doubtless be traced in the law which he got passed at an early period, that the privileges of citizenship should be confined to those whose parents were both Athenians ; a law which was called into exercise in B. c. 444, on the occasion of a present of corn being sent by Psammetichus from Egypt, to be distributed among the Athenian citizens. At the scrutiny which was set on foot only about 14,000 were found to be genuine Athenians, nearly 5000 being discovered to be aliens. That he had not miscalculated the effect likely to be produced on the minds of his fellow- citizens, is shown by the interest and pride which they took in the progress and beauty of the public works. When it was a matter of discussion in the assembly whether marble or ivory should be used in the construction of the great statue of Athene, the latter was selected, apparently for scarcely any other reason than that it was the more costly. We have already seen that the bare idea of having their name disconnected with the works that adorned their city, was suflScient to induce them to sanction Pericles in his lavish application of the public treasures. Pity, that an expenditure so wise in its ends, and so magnificent in its kind, should have been founded on an act of appro- priation, which a strict impartiality cannot justify, though a fair consideration of all the circumstances of the age and people will find much to palliate it. The honesty of the objections raised against it by the enemies of Pericles on the score of its injustice is very questionable. The issue of the opposition of Thucydides and his party has already been noticed.

It was not the mere device of a demagogue anxious to secure popularity, but a part of a settled policy, which led Pericles to provide amusement for the people in the shape of religious festivals and musical and dramatic entertainments. These were at the same time intended to prepare the citizens by cheerful relaxation and intellectual stimulus for enduring the exertions necessary for the greatness and well-being of the state, and to lead them, as they became conscious of the enjoy- ment as well as dignity of their condition, as Athenian citizens, to be ready to put forth their most strenuous exertions in defending a position which secured to them so many advantages. (Thucyd. ii. 38, 40.) The impulse that would bo given to trade and commerce by the increase of requirements on the part of the Athenians was also an element in his calculations (Thucyd. ii. 38). The drama especially characterised the age of Pericles [Aeschylus, Sophocles; Diet, of Ant. art. Comoedia., Tragoedia]. From the comic poets Pericles had to sustain numerous attacks. Their ridicule of his personal peculiarity could excite nothing more than a passing laugh. More serious attempts were made by them to render his position suspicious in the eyes of the people. They exaggerated his power, spoke of his party as Peisistratids, and called upon him to swear that he was not about to assume the tyranny. Cratinus threw out insinuations as to the tardiness with which the building of the third long wall to Peiraeeus proceeded. His connection with Aspasia was made the ground of frequent sallies (Schol. ad Plat. p. 391, ed. Bekker ; Pint. Per. 24). His high cha- racter and strict probity, however, rendered all these attacks harmless. But that Pericles was the author of a law passed B. c. 440, restraining the exhibition of comedy, is not probable. (Thirl- wall, vol. iii. p. 83; Cic.de Rep. iv. 10, 11.) The enemies of Pericles, unable to ruin his repu- tation by these means, attacked him through his friends. A charge was brought against Pheidias of appropriating part of the gold destined to adorn the statue of the goddess on the Acropolis ; and Menon, a workman who had been employed by Pheidias, was suborned to support tlie charge [Menon]. By the direction of Pericles, however, the golden ornaments had been so fixed as to admit of being taken off. Pericles challenged the accusers to weigh them. They shrank from the test, but the probity of Pheidias was established. This charge having been fruitless, a second at- tack was made on him for having in the sculp- ture on the shield of the goddess, representing the battle with the Amazons, introduced portraits of himself and Pericles. To support this charge, again Menon was brought forward, and Pheidias was cast into prison as having shown dishonour to the national religion. According to Plutarch he died there, either by poison, or by a natural death.

The next attack was intended to wound Peri- cles on a still more sensitive side. The connection between Pericles and Aspasia, and the great as- cendancy which she had over him, has already been spoken of in the article Aspasia. (Respect- ing the benefit which the oratory of Pericles was supposed to have derived from her instructions, see Plat. MeneiiP. p. 235, e. 236, a.) The comic poet Hermippus instituted a prosecution against her, on the ground of impiety, and of pandering to the vices of Pericles by corrupting the Athe- nian women ; a charge beyond all doubt as slan- derous as that made against Pheidias of doing the same under pretence of admitting Athe- nian ladies to view the progress of his works (Thirlwall, iii. pp. 87, 89). Apparently, while this trial was pending, Diopeithes got a decree passed that those who denied the existence of the gods, or introduced new opinions about celestial pliaeno- niena, should be informed against and impeached according to the process termed ilaayyiXla (Diet, of Ant. art. Eisangelia). This decree was aimed at Anaxagoras, and through him at Pericles. Another decree was proposed by Dracontides, that Pericles should give in an account of his expendi- ture of the public money before the Prytanes, who were to conduct the trial with peculiar solemnity. On the amendment of Agnon it was decreed that the trial should take place before 1500 dicasts. Aspasia was acquitted, though Pericles was obliged to descend to entreaties and tears to save her. The fate of Anaxagoras is uncertain [AnaxagorasJ. Of the proceedings against Pericles himself we hear nothing further. (Plut. /. c. ; Athen. xiii. p. 589, where several of the gossiping stories about Pericles will be found ; Diod. xii. 39 ; Diog. Laert. ii. 12.) It was the opinion entertained by many ancient writers that the dread of the im- pending prosecution was at least one of the mo- tives which induced Pericles to hurry on the out- break of the war with Sparta. That this unworthy charge was a false one is abundantly evident from the impartial and emphatic statements of Thucy- dides. The honesty of Pericles was unimpeach- able, and the outbreak of hostilities inevitable.

When the Corcyraeans applied to Athens for assistance against Corinth, one of their main argu- ments was that hostilities between the rival con- federacies could not be postponed much longer. Pericles doubtless foresaw this when by his advice a defensive alliance was contracted with the Cor- cyraeans, and ten galleys sent to assist them, under Lacedaemonius the son of Cimon, which were only to be brought into action in case a der scent upon the territories of the Corcyraeans were threatened. Plutarch represents Pericles as send- ing so small a force through jealousy of the family of Cimon. Pericles might safely have defied the rivalry of a much more formidable person than Lacedaemonius. A larger squadron of 20 ships was sent out not long after, in case the force first sent should prove too small. (Thucyd. i. 31 — 54.) The measures taken by the Athenians with re- spect to Potidaea doubtless had the sanction of Pericles, if they were not suggested by him. (Thucyd. i. b^^ &c.) After war had been declared by the congress of the Peloponnesian alliance, as the members of it were not in a condition to com- mence hostilities immediately, various embassies were sent to Athens, manifestly rather with the intention of multiplying causes of hostility, than with a sincere intention to prevent the outbreak of war. The first demand made was, that the Athenians should banish all that remained of the accursed family of the Alcmaeonids. This was clearly aimed at Pericles, who by his mother's side was connected with that house. The design of the Lacedaemonians was to render Pericles an object of odium when the difficulties of the war came to be felt by the Athenians, by making it appear that he was the obstacle in the way of peace. (Thucyd. i. 127.) The demand was dis- regarded, and the Lacedaemonians in their turn directed to free themselves from the pollution con- tracted by the death of Pausanias. Subsequent demands were made that the Athenians should raise the siege of Potidaea, restore Aegina to inde- pendence, and especially repeal the decree against the Megarians, by which the latter were excluded, on pain of death, from the agora of Athens, and from all ports in the Athenian dominions. One of the scandalous stories of the time represented this decree as having been procured by Pericles from private motives, some Megarians having carried off two girls belonging to the train of Aspasia. (Aris- toph. Acharn. 500.) There was quite sufficient ground for the decree in the long-standing enmity between the Athenians and Megarians, which, just before the decree was passed on the motion of Charinus, had been inflamed by the murder of an Athenian herald, who had been sent to obtain satisfaction from the Megarians for their having encroached upon the consecrated land that lay be- tween the territories of the two states. This de- mand of the Lacedaemonians was succeeded by one that the Atheniiins should leave all Greek states independent, that is, that Athens should relinquish her empire, intimations being given that peace might be expected if these conditions were complied with. An assembly was held to deli- berate on the answer to be given to the Lacedae- monians. The true motives which actuated Peri- cles in resisting these demands are given by Thu- cydides in the speech which he puts into his mouth on the occasion (i. 140 — 144). Pericles judged rightly in telling the Athenians that the demands made of them, especially that about Megara, which was most insisted on, were mere pre- texts by which the Lacedaemonians were trying the spirit and resolution of the Athenians ; and that in that point of view, involving the whole prin- ciple of submission to Sparta, it became of the utmost importance not to yield. He pointed out the advantages which Athens, as the head of a compact dominion, possessed over a disjointed league like that of the Peloponnesians, which, more- over, had not at its immediate command the re- sources necessary for carrying on the war, and would find the greatest difficulty in raising them ; showed how impossible it was that the Pelopon- nesians should be able to cope with the Athenians by sea, and how utterly fruitless their attack would be while Athens remained mistress of the sea. The course which he recommended there- fore was, that the Athenians should not attempt to defend their territory when invaded, but retire within the city, and devote all their attention to securing the strength and efficiency of their navy, with which they could make severe retalia- tions on the territories of their enemies ; since a victory by land would be of no service, and defeat would immediately be followed by the revolt of their subject allies. He warned them, however, that they must be content with defending what they already possessed, and must not attempt to extend their dominion. War, he bade them ob- serve, could not be avoided ; and they would the less feel the ill effects of it, if they met their an- tagonists with alacrity. At his suggestion the Athenians gave for answer to the Lacedaemonian ambassadors, that they would rescind the decree against Megara if the Lacedaemonians would cease to exclude strangers from intercourse with their citizens ; that they would leave their allies inde- pendent if they were so at the conclusion of the treaty, and if Sparta would grant real independence to her allies ; and that they were still willing to submit their differences to arbitration.

In one sense, indeed, Pericles may be looked upon as the author of the Peloponnesian war, in- asmuch as it was mainly his enlightened policy which had raised Athens to that degree of power which produced in the Lacedaemonians the jea- lousy and alarm which Thucydides (i. 23) dis- tinctly affirms to have been the real cause of the Peloponnesian war. How accurately Pericles had calculated the resources of Athens, and how wisely he had discerned her true policy in the war, was rendered manifest by the spirited struggle which she maintained even when the Peloponnesians were supplied with Persian gold, and by the irre- parable disasters into which she was plunged by her departure from the policy enjoined by Pericles.

In the spring of B. c. 431 Plataea was seized. Both sides prepared with vigour for hostilities ; and a Peloponnesian army having assembled at the isthmus, another embassy was sent to the Athenians by Archidamus to see if they were dis- posed to yield. In accordance with a decree which Pericles had had passed, that no herald or em- bassy should be received after the Lacedaemonians had taken the field, the ambassador, Melesippus, was not suffered to enter the city. Pericles, sus- pecting that Archidamus in his invasion might leave his property untouched, either out of private friendship, or by the direction of the Pelopon- nesians, -in order to excite odium against him, declared in an assembly of the people that if his lands were left unravaged, he would give them up to be the property of the state (Thucyd. ii. 13). He took the opportunity at the same time of giving the Athenians an account of the resources they had at their command. Acting upon his advice they conveyed their moveable property into the city, transporting their cattle and beasts of burden to Euboea. When the Peloponnesian army advanced desolating Attica, the Athenians were clamorous to be led out against the enemy, and were angry with Pericles because he steadily adhered to the policy he had recommended. He would hold no assembly or meeting of any kind. He, however, kept close guard on the walls, and sent out cavalry to protect the lands near the city. While the Peloponnesian army was in Attica, a fleet of 100 ships was sent round Peloponnesus. (Thucyd. ii. 18, &c.) The foresight of Pericles may probably be traced in the setting apart 1 000 talents, and 1 00 of the best sailing galleys of the year, to be employed only in case of an attack being made on Athens by sea. Any one proposing to appropriate them to any other purpose was to suffer death. Another fleet of thirty ships was sent along the coasts of Locris and Euboea : and in this same summer the population of Aegina was expelled, and Athenian colonists sent to take possession of the island. An alliance was also entered into with Sitalces, king of Thrace. In the autumn Pericles in person led an army into Megaris, and ravaged most of the country. The decree against Megara before spoken of enacted that the Athenian generals on entering office should swear to invade Megaris twice a year (Plut. I. c. ; Thucyd. iv. 66). In the winter (b, c. 431 — 430), on the occasion of paying funeral ho- nours to those who had fallen in the course of the hostilities, Pericles was chosen to dehver the ora- tion. (Thucyd. ii. 35 — 46.) In the summer of the next year, when the Peloponnesians invaded Attica, Pericles pursued the same policy as before. In this summer the plague made its appearance in Athens (Thucyd. ii. 48, &c.). An armament of 100 ships (Thucyd. ii. 56) was conducted by Pericles in person to the coast of Peloponnesus. An eclipse of the sun which happened just before the fleet set sail afforded Pericles an opportunity of applying the astronomical knowledge which he had derived from Anaxagoras in quieting the alarm which it occasioned. (Plut. Per. 35.)

The Athenians, being exposed to the devastation of the war and the plague at the same time, not unnaturally began to turn their thoughts to peace, and looked upon Pericles as the author of all their distresses, inasmuch as he had persuaded them to go to war. Pericles was unable to prevent the sending of an embassy to Sparta, with proposals for peace. It was however fruitless. Pericles then called an assembly, and endeavoured to bring the people to a better mind ; set forth the grounds they had for hoping for success ; pointed out the unreasonableness of being cast down and diverted from a course of action deliberately taken up by an unforeseen accident like that of the plague, and especially the injustice of holding him in any way responsible for the hardships they were suffering on account of it. It was impossible now to retreat ; their empire must be defended at any sacrifice, for it was perilous to abandon it (Thucyd. ii. 60 — 64). Though his speech to some extent allayed the public ferment, it did not remove from their minds the irritation they felt. Clecn appears among his foremost enemies. According to Plutarch a decree was passed that Pericles should be deprived of his command and pay a fine, the amount of which was variously stated. Thucydides merely says that he va» fined. The ill feeling of the people having found this vent, Pericles soon resumed his accus- tomed sway, and was again elected one of the generals for the ensuing year.

The military operations of B.C. 429 were doubt- less conducted binder the general superintendence of Pericles, though he does not appear to have con- ducted any in person. The plague carried otf most of his near connections. His son Xanthippus, a profligate and undutiful youth, his sister, and most of his intimate friends died of it. Still Pericles maintained unmoved his calm bearing and philo- sophic composure, and did not even attend the funeral rites of those who were carried off. At last his only surviving legitimate son, Paralus, a youth of greater promise than his brother, fell a victim. The firmness of Pericles then at last gave way ; as he placed the funeral garland on the head of the lifeless youth he burst into tears and sobbed aloud. He had one son remaining, his child by Aspasia. Either by a repeal of the law respecting legitimacy which he himself had before got passed, or by a special vote, he was allowed to enrol this son in his own tribe and give him his own name. In the autumn of b. c. 429 Pericles himself died of a lingering sickness, which, if a variety of the plague, was not attended by its usual violent symptoms, but was of such a nature that he wasted away by slow degrees, Theophrastus pre- served a storj', that he allowed the women who attended him to hang an amulet round his neck, which he showed to a friend to indicate the ex- tremity to which sickness had reduced him, when he could submit to such a piece of superstition. When at the point of death, as his friends were gathered round his bed, recalling his virtues and successes and enumerating his triumphs (in the course of his military career, in which he was equally remarkable for his prudence[2] and his cou- rage, he had erected as many as nine trophies), overhearing their remarks, he said that they had forgotten his greatest praise : that no Athenian through his means had been made to put on mourning. He survived the commencement of the war two years and six months (Thuc, ii. 65). His death was an irreparable loss to Athens. The policy he had laid down for the guidance of his fellow-citizens was soon departed from ; and those who came after him being far inferior to him in personal abilities and merit and more on a level with each other, in their eagerness to assume the reins of the state, betook themselves to unworthy modes of securing popular favour, and, so far from check- ing the wrong inclinations of the people, fostered and encouraged them, while the operations of the forces abroad and the counsels of the people at home were weakened by division and strife (Thuc. ii. 05).

The name of the wife of Pericles is not men- tioned. She had been the wife of Hipponicus, by whom she was the mother of Callias. [Callias, Vol. I. p. 567.J She bore two sons to Pericles, Xanthippus and Paralus. She lived unhappily with Pericles, and a divorce took place by mutual consent, when Pericles connected himself with Aspasia by a tie as close as the law allowed. His union with her continued in uninterrupted har- mony till his death. It is possible enough that Aspasia occasioned the alienation of Pericles from his wife ; but at the same time it appears that she had been divorced by her former husband likewise. By Aspasia Pericles had one son, who bore his name. Of his strict probity he left the decisive proof in the fact that at his death he was found not to have added a single drachma to his here- ditary property. Cicero {Brut. 7. § 27, de Oral. ii. 22. § 93) speaks of written orations by Pericles as extant. It is not unlikely that he was de- ceived by some spurious productions bearing his name. (Quint. /. O. iii. 1.) He mentions the tomb of Pericles at Athens {de Fin. v. 2). It was on the way to the Academy (Pans. i. 29. § o). There was also a statue of him at Athens (Paus. i. 28. § 2). (Plut. Pericles; Thiriwall, Hist. of Greece, vol, iii, cc. 17—20).

2. Son of the preceding, by Aspasia [Pericles, No. 1]. He was one of the generals at the battle of Arginusae, and was put to death in consequence of the unsuccessful issue of that battle. (Xen. Hellen. i. 5. U§ 6.) [C.P. M.]


  1. When, some time after, in 'a transient out- break of ill-feeling, Pericles was called upon to submit his accounts for inspection, there appeared an item of ten talents spent for a necessary purpose. As the purpose to which the sum had been applied was tolerably well understood, the statement was allowed to pass without question (Aristoph. Nub. 832, with the Scholiast; Thucyd. ii. 21). It was probably this incident which gave rise to the story which Plutarch found in several writers, that Pericles, for the purpose of postponing the Pelopon- nesian war, which he perceived to be inevitable, sent ten talents yearly to Sparta, with which he bribed the most influential persons, and so kept the Spartans quiet ; a statement which, though pro- bably incorrect, is worth noting, as indicating a belief that the war was at any rate not hurried on by Pericles out of private motives.
  2. He used to say that as far as their fate depended upon him, the Athenians should be immortal.