Cause Of Pericles's Downfall

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The Athenian statesman Pericles was the very model of a politician. Under his leadership, the people of Athens embarked on one of the most brilliant eras in all human history. It was the heart of the Athenian Golden Age, a time known as the Age of Pericles, when philosophy and the arts flourished as never before. Likewise, democracy, (government by the people) experienced one of its proudest moments; but Pericles won his triumphs in part through foreign conquest and empire-building. In the end, like a hero from a Greek tragedy, his own mistakes would bring about his downfall. A family tradition Pericles was born to one of the best families in Athens. His mother, Agariste, came from the upper levels of the Athenian aristocracy, but her…show more content…
510-c. 451 B.C.) favored continuing relations with Sparta. This became more and more distasteful to Athenians, particularly when Cimon sent troops to assist the Spartan aristocrats in suppressing a revolt of the helots in 462 B.C. This event helped lead to the rise of Pericles. The rise of Pericles In 463 B.C., thirty-two-year-old Pericles joined forces with Ephialtes in the Athenian leadership. Together they managed to ostracize Cimon, or force him to leave the city. Before Cimon's followers could recover, Pericles and Ephialtes instituted a number of reforms to reduce the power of the aristocrats and increase that of the poor. Up to that point, Athenian leaders had not been paid, meaning that only the wealthy could afford to hold public office. Pericles and Ephialtes established pay for public officials, thus opening up offices to the poor. They did not do this simply because they had big hearts; they also knew that it would win the support of Athens's poor majority (which of course it did). Next Pericles and Ephialtes turned on the Areopagus, the Athenian high court; this, too, they opened to people of all classes. This move proved too much for the aristocrats, who had Ephialtes assassinated, but this act paved the way for Pericles to take

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