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Athenian Leader: Pericles The Great Essay

1159 words - 5 pages

In the present day, Barack Obama and many more inspirational individuals possess traits of leadership that influence a multitude of people. Going back even farther, Gandhi, Martin Luther King Jr., and Rosa Parks were also leaders. In the Ancient World though, people like Alexander the Great, Ramses the Great, and Hammurabi were significant leaders. The one common similarity among all these leaders is that they all influenced their people and revolutionized the world. Pericles is also among this extravagant group. Pericles, leader of Greece in its Golden Age, revolutionized the city of Athens, its government and its people.
The life of Pericles was by far very prominent. Born in 495 B.C.E., Pericles was not only a statesman, but also a general in the army. He was intelligent, serious, and physically “perfect” (Hamish 18). As his status grew in Athenian government, his influence on the people of Athens grew too. “Pericles was the statesman and strategos (general) under whose rule Athens won and enforced political and cultural dominance over other Greek city-states” (Alan and Phillips OL). Unfortunately though, his fame ended a bit early. In 429 B.C.E., Pericles caught the plague, and died the same year.
Pericles, unlike some other Athenians, was born to a high-ranking nobility family. His father, Xanthippus, was an influential figure and prominent statesman in Athens, as was Pericles when he was older (Hamish 18). On the other hand, his mother, Agariste, was a housewife, but also helped Pericles in becoming successful by teaching him complex ideas about life. As you can see, both Xanthippus and Agariste had great influences on Pericles.
Not only did his parents have a great influence on Pericles, but his teachers did too. Damon, one of Pericles’ teachers, taught him moral and political influence of music. This clearly led to Pericles becoming such an influential figure in Athenian government. Anaxagoras was also another teacher that influenced Pericles greatly. He, in the same way, taught Pericles political style, rhetoric, and how to analyze logic. This was a vital teaching judging by the fact that Pericles became the leader of Athens. Obviously, Damon and Anaxagoras were a huge influence on the young Pericles.
Growing up, Pericles understood that he needed to be physically fit to defend Athens at any time. He knew that to be a true citizen of Athens, he needed to serve Athens. To start of his career, Pericles joined the Athenian military. At first, he guarded one of the many forts that protected Athens from the Persians. From there, he began to rise in power. After years and years in the military, Pericles became a renowned general in 458 B.C.E.
After years and years in Athenian government, Pericles’ downfall finally came. As they were fighting in the treacherous Peloponnesian War, a plague struck the streets of Athens, killing many. The Athenians blamed this event on Pericles, and they voted him and everyone associated with him...

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