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Question of the Day: Ancient History: Greece

Athens grew in intellectual and artistic learning in the years 477 to 431 BCE.  This period is known as the Golden Age of Greece.  Drama, sculpture, poetry, philosophy, architecture and science reached new heights during this time period. Athens was led by Pericles during most of the Golden Age.  Pericles was born into a rich and high ranking noble family.  His father was an aristocrat and soldier who fought at the Battle of Salamis during the Persian War.  His mother was the niece of Cleisthenes.  As a leader, Pericles is remembered for his political achievements.  As an individual he is remembered as being a lonely man with no friends who left his home only to attend to official business.  Pericles was an able statesman, skillful politician, an honest and fair man who delivered inspiring speeches.  He was also a respected general.   His esteemed position and dominance of this age led many historians to call this time period the Age of Pericles.  Pericles had three goals for Athens.  He wanted to strengthen Athenian democracy, hold and reinforce the Greek empire and glorify Athens through the arts. 

How did Pericles background influence and enable him to set forth his democratic ideas?

His solitary personal life enabled him to focus his thoughts on democracy

As the son of an aristocrat, he could expect to rise to power as a leader of Athens

As a general, he could use the army to enforce his democratic ideas

His leadership as a general prepared him for political life

His family saw the need for democracy and witnessed first-hand the developing ideas of democracy in its early years

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