We callit the "Golden Age"—the period during the 5th century B.C. when the Greek city-state of Athens experienced a cultural flowering of extraordinary power and importance for Western culture. It is a period that still calls to us, still echoes, as we read the plays of Aeschylus, Sophocles, or Euripides; gaze at architectural wonders like the Parthenon; consider the wisdom passed down from Socrates and Plato; or, perhaps most of all, consider the origins of our own democracy. The Age of Pericles uses the career of the leading Athenian politician and general from c. 450–429 B.C. as a prism through which to view this brief but remarkable era, and to ask why that echo has persisted for so long. In the generation that followed Pericles’s appearance on the public stage shortly after the Persian wars, Athens rapidly transformed the alliance of Greek states—an alliance first created as a defense against the Persians—into a true Aegean empire, dominated by the Athenians and their mighty navy. But this dramatic increase in military power, cultural influence, and prestige was also accompanied by something unique: the growth of full participatory democracy.
[hide] More info Taught by: Jeremy McInerney, University of Pennsylvania, Ph.D., University of California at Berkeley Course Lecture Titles 1. The Agora—An Ancient Marketplace 2. Athens and the Persian Wars 3. The Athenian Empire 4. The Career of Pericles 5. Aspasia 6. Parthenon and Acropolis 7. Panathenaea—The Festivals of Athena 8. Paideia—Education in Ancient Athens 9. Marriage in Pericles’s Athens 10. Family and Property 11. Coins, Trade, and Business 12. Death and Burial 13. Aeschylus and Early Tragedy 14. Sophoclean Tragedy 15. Euripides 16. Comedy in the Age of Aristophanes 17. Athenian Courts and Justice 18. Democracy and Government 19. The Age of Moderation 20. Freedom, Equality, and the Rights of Man 21. Athens after Pericles 22. Socrates and the Sophists 23. Plato 24. An Elegy to Athens