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Athens: Age Of Pericles Essay

1134 words - 5 pages

Imagine a general of great wealth, integrity, and great perverseness. This description fits a person well, and that person is Pericles. Pericles was a great man, and he did things to the best of his abilities. He was born a wealthy child, and of course used this to his advantage. He honestly thought that he could have a big impact on the city of Athens and maybe even the entire world. “His father Xanthippus had himself been a military commander for Athens at the battle of Mycale in 479 B.C. Pericles name in Greek means 'Surrounded by Glory' and as is evident that was certainly to come true for Pericles was he became an influential statesman for Athens during The Peloponnesian War until his death in 429B.C.” (Rodney) From this, people assume that Pericles was commander at heart and a great man in general. Pericles was a great man because he was a risk-taker, he showed leadership, and he showed extreme intelligence in battle. These are all incredible attributes to being a great person and Pericles definitely fit all of them, making him a great general to have in a city.
Being a risk-taker has always been a problem for most and it was no different with Pericles. Pericles was very witty, and again used this to his advantage. His background drove his risk-taking and his will to succeed. “In his early twenties, he decided to take a risk and run for one of the statesmen positions.”(Nardo 30) He ended up being very influential, which is probably why he ended being so popular. His popularity pushed him to the top where later he became the general that most people know him as today. But he didn’t become this big as quickly as people might think. In fact, it was quite the process that he went through to get to his position. One of his biggest rivals was Cimon. “Cimon was the son of Miltiades, the Athenian general who had led the victory at Marathon. Cimon was also young, good-looking, and the darling of the old but influential aristocratic class.”(Nardo 30) One of the biggest risks he took while “running” against him was trying to remove from it completely so that he had no competition. “But, he then realized, that would require opposing the nobles and backing the commoners.” (Nardo 30) This was a risk, of course, that he was willing to take. Eventually, he didn’t end up killing or taking Cimon out of it, but he did stop him from getting any farther than he did. This caused Pericles to become an on and off general, which made him very upset because Cimon and the rest of the aristocrats were so successful. “But Pericles saw that men like Cimon, Themistocles, and his own father, had made names for themselves through distinguished military service. So, from about 472 to 466, he took part in a number of military expeditions, [which was also another risk that he took].”(Nardo 41) These expeditions made a name for himself and was elected stategos for the first time. All his political accomplishments were achieved by his drive to win but also to take risks,...

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