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Pericles Understanding the Legacy Background Born in 490 and died in 429 B.C. From a wealthy family with strong connections to the government of Greece. A scholar, taught by the greatest minds of his time. Began his early career in the military where he became a general. Democracy

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  1. Pericles Understanding the Legacy

  2. Background • Born in 490 and died in 429 B.C. • From a wealthy family with strong connections to the government of Greece. • A scholar, taught by the greatest minds of his time. • Began his early career in the military where he became a general.

  3. Democracy • Pericles brought to Athens, and to Greece, the ideals of democracy. • A democrat who was a liberal in theory and a realist in practices concerning faith. He believed that the true value of Athens was found in the common good of the people and he worked to ensure that their common interests were served by their government.

  4. Power • "Our constitution is called a democracy because power is in the hands not of a minority but of the whole people. When it is a question of settling private disputes, everyone is equal before the law; when it is a question of putting one person before another in positions of public responsibility, what counts is not membership of a particular class, but the actual ability which the man possess.” • Pericles believed that the people should represent equality at all levels and he worked to ensure that every Athenian had land and some link to their state and its government. Power rested in the hands of all those who made the state’s business their business and the only way to ensure that the people cared for the state was to ensure that they had a vested interest in the state. • Pericles believed that “any man could benefit his country, no matter the obscurity of his condition (in life).”

  5. Pericles believed that it was through thinking before one acted that they truly maintained the power to control themselves. To act without forethought made men courageous but ignorant. Men may be courageous from their ignorance. Pericles believed it was necessary to act and in your reflection have no hesitation, no doubt, that you actions stood for something. That your actions meant something. It is through protecting yourself and others by thinking before you act that men truly are courageous because it takes courage to have the forethought to know better then the afterthought of regret. The Power of Thinking

  6. The Age of Pericles • Not only did Pericles bring great changes to the government of Greece, he also brought great changes to the nature of art and progress of his time. • The great structures of Greece, The New Temple of Athena and the Parthenon among others, were built during his time. Not only did Pericles use these structures to change the face of Greek art and the cultural pulse of the nation but he also used them for political reasons as well.

  7. Building a Nation • Pericles used his building projects in a political sense by making it possible for his “full employment policy” where every able man, woman and child, any able craftsman or worker to work for and earn money---and honor---from the state. • This was meant to show the common people that they too shared in the profits and the splendor of the empire. • He ensured that every single person had a vested interest in the creation of the state and in the building of their own legacy. “For a man’s counsel cannot have equal weigh or worth, when he alone has nothing to risk.”

  8. Setting the Standard • Pericles was condemned for his position as a statesman because he believed the good of his city, Athens, was paramount in importance. However, he believed that all people should feel pride, worth, and see their own importance in regards to the state and the progress the state makes. • He set a standard for Athens and for Greece, he believed that they should follow the path of no one but instead that they should be a model to others. They should be the guiding force for others to follow. Through their actions, deeds, and their excellence.

  9. The People • Pericles understood that the value of human existence rested in the peoples ability, and determination, to be civically engaged. • He believed that anyone who did not have an interest in politics or the affairs of state had no business in the state at all because it was by the will of the people that the state existed and the state flourished or failed by that same will.

  10. Others are brave out of ignorance; and, when they stop to think, they begin to fear. But the man who can most truly be accounted for is he who best knows what is sweet in life and what is terrible, and then goes undeterred to meet what is to come". ~Pericles 

  11. Olympian of Athens • It is fitting that Pericles was compared to Zeus, in that he had the bearing of greatness and the ability to remain calm and collected in the face of any trial. However, it is more ironic that he would end up being more comparable to the daughter of Zeus, Athena----the Goddess whose name the city he loved bore. • As Athena was, Pericles was the guardian of his city and all it possessed and he fought for the future excellence of his city and his people with everything he had. For this, his legacy remains, for his determination to see democracy succeed and his image of the art, culture, politics and potential of Athens, and Greece, realized.

  12. Picking up the Torch • As Periclean Scholars we have been challenged to continue the legacy of Pericles. • Pericles was not only a great orator and statesmen but he also held true to the values of democracy and the belief that all people have a place and a purpose within the state. This holds true today and it goes beyond the state to include the world. • It is our task to continue his legacy and promote his ideals of civic responsibility, democracy and engagement across borders and through the sharing of ideas and the melding of cultures. We must set a standard for ourselves and our actions. We must be a model to others, a visionary in all that we do and we must work to inspire others and promote a legacy for ourselves through our deeds, our standards and our commitment.

  13. “Nosotros no imitamos pero somos un modelo a otros.” ~Pericles “We do not imitate, but are a model to others.” ~Pericles Periclean Scholars Class of 2007

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