Greece during Age of Pericles
A wise and able statesman named Pericles led Athens during its golden age. Honest and fair, Pericles held onto popular support for almost thirty two years. He was a skillful politician, an inspiring speaker, and a respected general. He has dominated the life of Athens from 461 to 429 B.C., this period has often been called the Age of Pericles. He had three goals, first to strengthen Athenian democracy, second to hold and strengthen the empire, and the last to glorify Athens.
To strengthen democracy, Pericles increased the number of paid public officials. Earlier, only wealthier citizens could afford to hold public office because most positions were unpaid. Pericles increased the number of officials who were paid salaries. Now even the poorest could serve if elected or chosen by lot. Consequently, Athens had more citizens engaged in self-government than any other city-state. This reform made Athens one of the most democratic governments in history.
However, political rights were still limited to those with citizenship status.
The introduction of direct democracy, a form of government in which citizens rule directly and not through representatives, was an important legacy of Periclean Athens. Few other city-states practiced this style of government. In Athens, male citizens who served in the assembly established all the important government policies that affected the polis.
Pericles tried to enlarge the wealth and power of Athens. He used the money from Delian League's treasury to build Athens's 200-ship navy into the strongest in the Mediterranean. A strong navy was important because it helped Athens strengthen the safety of its empire. Athenian prosperity depended on gaining access to its surrounding waterways. It needed overseas trade to obtain supplies of grain and other raw material.
Pericles also used money from the empire to beautify...