INTELLECTUAL HERITAGE (at Temple
Delphi- A Focal Point for IH 51 Texts
Subject Study Aids:
Aeschylus' Libation Bearers
Oedipus and the Sphinx Lecture
J's Illustrated Pericles' Funeral Oration
J's Illustrated Pericles and America
J's Illustrated Pericles and Philadelphia
J's Illustrated Aeschylus' Oresteia
J's Curse of the House of Atreus Outline
Background Lecture on Greek Philosophy
J's Apology Study Questions
J's Illustrated Plato's Apology
and the Apology Lecture
Dr. J's Plutarch's Pericles
Sundiata Study Guide
Epic Qualities of the Sundiata
and Humanism Lecture
FOUNDATIONS OF CLASSICAL GREECE
(needs some pruning):
in Classical Culture:
The Legend of the House of Atreus: Greek Tragedy in Greece
Religious Foundations of Greek Culture
The Intersection of Myth and History
The Ancient Greek Cultural Nexus- Art, Archaeology, Literature and Topography
From 1996-2001 I taught in the
Intellectual Heritage Program at Temple University in Philadelphia,
Pennsylvania. This page is part of my teaching materials for Intellectual
Heritage 51, a course covering literature and ideas from Sappho through
from Plutarch's Life of Pericles
King of Persia’s generals at Mycale
Mother: Agariste, grandchild of Cleisthenes,
responsible for expelling Athens’ last tyrants
Pericles’ mother dreamed she would
bear a lion days before Pericles was born
His head is disproportionately long –
called “Onionhead” by contemporary comic authors (which is why he insisted
on having official portraits with helmet)
P’s teachers: Zeno of
Elea, student of
Most influential: Anaxagoras:
Pericles devoted his early politicking
to befriending the common man, for he was an aristocrat by birth and feared
ostracism from those who would fear him as a power-seeker.
for his oratory skill
the conduct of a man in power in regard to sexual pursuits: “A
general should not only have pure hands, but pure eyes.”
Pericles used the public treasury to pay
for diversions for the people and for jury-duty.
Thucydides (not the historian, another
one) provided the balance the Athenians sought to avoid setting up Pericles as
an absolute ruler. It became the people
(Pericles) versus the nobility (Thucydides).
Things Pericles did:
sent out shiploads of men on nautical expeditions to improve their
skills, found colonies (and thereby make Athens look good to her enemies), and
rid Athens of idle men.
-public works – Pericles’ enemies
accused him of unrightfully removing the treasury from Delos and misusing the
other cities’ donations to dress up Athens like a vain woman, prancing about
wanting to be gawked at.
Pericles responded: the other cities have nothing to complain about since
Athens is indeed protecting them from the barbarians; the monuments are eternal
proofs of the glory that is Athens; and every sector of the economy is
Pericles’ idea that all members
of the society thrive equally well: soldiers, mariners, merchants, craftsmen,
artisans, common laborers as well as wagoners, rope-makers, leather-cutters,
- so the wealth of the public treasury was distributed throughout the
different populations of the city.
– superintendent of all building projects
Kallicrates and Ictinus – rebuilt
the Parthenon, destroyed by the Persian sack of Athens in 480.
Coroebus – began the Temple of
Initiation at Eleusis and Metagenes finished it.
– music theater – a roofed structure
Pericles started the tradition of
vying for musical prize during the Panathenea in the Odeum. He paid for the
prize and he appointed the judge.
in five years built the Propylaia, entryway or vestibule to the Acropolis.
(workman injured on the job was visited by Athena in a dream and he was
Pericles’ enemies publicly accused him of over-spending, Pericles asked the
people – they agreed. When he said that he would then take the responsibility
for the expenditure and put his own name on the buildings instead of the name of
Athens, the citizens cried out that he should spend as much as he wanted!
the ostracism of his only real political rival (Cimon), Pericles’ power
soared. Always the people remembered the tyrants (Plutarch tells us that
Pericles in his features rather resembled the Pesistratid family, to the chagrin
of his enemies). Eventually, after a certain number of years (unclear), Pericles’
political enemies targeted those around him (says Plutarch):
Phidias is charged with stealing the
gold intended for the chryselephantine statue of Athena. Pericles helps him
disprove this charge (they remove and weigh the gold). Then Phidias is
accused of sneaking in likenesses of himself and of Pericles onto the battle
scene with the Amazons on Athena’s shield. Phidias is sent to jail, where
Aspasia, Pericles’ courtesan, is
accused of impiety for employing women above the status of slave (acquitted
of all charges)
Anaxagoras (natural philosopher
tutor to Pericles) tried for disputing the existence of the gods (Socrates
also mentions him – that he suggested that the sun was not the god Apollo,
but a white-hot rock about the size of the Peloponnesus.) – Pericles
feared he would be found guilty, so abetted his flight from Athens.
war begins not soon thereafter, and Pericles takes the people within the walls
of the city. The plague hits after that. Plutarch suggests that because Pericles
loses his legitimately born sons to the plague, this is the reason he repeals
the law against bastards becoming citizens – for he feared that he would
bequeath nothing to posterity. Ironically, it was Pericles who orginally drew up
the law to limit Athenian citizenship to those whose parents on both sides were
already citizens, causing much hardship at the time.
concludes his Life of Pericles by stating that Pericles built no less than nine
memorials to the honor of Athens.
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send comments to: Janice Siegel (firstname.lastname@example.org)
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