Talk:Fifth-century Athens

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Is this really necessary? We already have History of Athens, Classical Greece, and Pericles itself, right? Adam Bishop 23:19, 30 August 2005 (UTC)

  • If the material turns out to be redundant, we can toss it, and if it turns out to merit refactoring, fine, but I still think it is worth translating and evaluating. -- Jmabel | Talk 16:58, August 31, 2005 (UTC)


The translation might be done besides minor things such as images, copy editing and the fact that I dont know what a "logógrafo" is...Ill try to find out...--Orgullomoore 03:27, 5 September 2005 (UTC)

There are also at least a few words that could use their Greek spellings. Also, in an HTML comment under "sculptors": the Spanish language article uses "crisoelefantinas", which looks like an hispanicization of a Greek word and notes "de chrysós=oro" (gold). Does anyone know the proper Greek word? -- Jmabel | Talk 19:03, September 5, 2005 (UTC)
"Chryselephantine" is the English adjective, just a fancy way of saying "made of gold and ivory". Adam Bishop 23:45, 15 September 2005 (UTC)

End date of Age of Pericles[edit]

Pericles dies in 429. Most historians would say that his influence ends then, especially given the other prominent historical figures/athenian politicians which come afterwards. I've never heard of any historian/classicist attributing this period 439-338 as the Age of Pericles. Does anyone have a cite to a historian using the term age of pericles to refer to this time period? Cttck 17:12, 17 December 2005 (UTC)

I agree. The term "Periclean Athens" universally refers to Athens at the height of its wealth and power. The beginning of this period is usually marked by the democratic reforms of the 450s initiated by Pericles and the great building projects on the acropolis also initiated by Pericles, which began with the construction of the Parthenon in 447. Pericles certainly had a legacy that may be imagined to have extended beyond his death in 429, but Athens' power and wealth - so characteristic of Pericles' time - cannot credibly be thought of as extending much beyond 413 (when the Syracuseans defeated the Athenian navy) or 412 (when the Persians gave their support to Sparta); these dates mark the beginning of the end for Athens as a superpower; by this time Athens was broke and had lost many (actual and potential) allies. The Athens of Pericles certainly cannot be thought of as extending beyond 404, when it surrenders to Sparta, and allows the oligarchy of the Thirty to usurp the democracy. It's true that the democracy was reinstated in 403, but Athens was never to return to or even approach its former glory.

Maybe this is overkill. But below, I have collected a number of instances where one may find a "definition" of the Age of Pericles. (I found most of these by using Amazon's keyword-search, using their "Power Search" utility.)
The Annotated Mona Lisa: A Crash Course in Art History from Prehistoric to Post-Modern by Carol Strickland (1992, p. 13): "For a brief Golden Age, 480-430 B.C., an explosion of creativity resulted in an unparalleled level of excellence in art, architecture, poetry, drama, philosophy, government, law, logic, history, and mathematics. This period is also called the Age of Pericles, after the Athenian leader who championed democracy and encouraged free thinking."
SAT Subject Tests: World History 2005-2006 by Peggy J. Martin (p. 69), under a "Timline" of "Persia, Greece, and the Hellenistic World": "495-429 B.C.E. Age of Pericles (Golden Age of Athens)".
From Socrates to Satre by T.Z. Lavine (1985, p. 10): "The Golden Age of Athens, the Age of Pericles, which lasted from 445 to 431 B.C., has come to symbolize perfection in human civilized life."
How to Prepare for the SAT II World History by Marilynn Hitchens (2001, p. 52), under "Chronology" of "Classical Greek Civilization": "Golden Age of Greece (Age of Pericles) (457-404 B.C.E.)".
A History of Mathematics by Isaac Asimov (1991, p. 63): "The fifth century B.C. was a crucial period in the history of Western civilization, for it opened with the defeat of the Persian invaders and closed with the surrender of Athens to Sparta. Between these two events lay the great Age of Pericles, with its accomplishments in literature and art."
In agreement with all of the above is what Bertrand Russell says about the "Age of Pericles" on pp. 58-59 of his A History of Western Philosophy (1945).
There was a book by William Watkiss Lloyd (1875) which was actually titled: The Age of Pericles: A History of the Politics and Arts of Greece from the Persian to the Peloponnesian War
There seems to be an agreement that the "Golden Age" of Athens/Greece is synonymous with "Age of Pericles". Assuming this, I'll add two further sources:
Ancient Greece by Thomas Martin (2000, p. 124): "The prosperity and cultural achievements of Athens in the mid-fifth century have led to this period in Athenian history being called a Golden Age."
The Peloponnesian War: 431-404 BC by Philip de Souza (2002, p. 74): "The period from the end of the Persian Wars to the end of the Peloponnesian War has often been called the Golden Age of Athens."
In the above collection, there are arguable varying degrees of authority; this doesn't pretend to be an exhaustive study—or even a random sampling—of the use of the expression "Age of Pericles". But I think it demonstrates that the expression isn't usually used to refer to any time after the fifth century B.C. In accordance with these sources, I have edited the first sentence of the main article. By the way, whoever has said, in these Wikipedia articles on Pericles and the Age of Pericles, that the Age of Pericles extends all the way to 379 or 338 B.C. seems to be confusing the Age of Pericles with what's known as the Classical period of ancient Greece, which are distinct and cover different periods (even though the former falls within the latter).

—This unsigned comment was added by Isokrates (talkcontribs) 19 March 2006.


In "...terrible sanitary conditions gave way to a plague..." (that's [[typhoid fever|plague]]): is there a basis for linking the word plague to the article typhoid fever? If so, we should mention typhoid explicitly in the article instead of via an Easter Egg link. If not, we should not link there at all. - Jmabel | Talk 04:55, 23 April 2006 (UTC)

Since it seems that it was not a plague, but another disease, propably typhus, I changed the word "plague" with "epidemic" and I linked it with the article plague of Athens. For more information about the epidemic, see the above-mentioned article and Pericles, as well as the talk page of Pericles. --Yannismarou 17:49, 4 May 2006 (UTC)

Inaccurate references to Alciviades[edit]

The references to Alciviades at the end of the article are inaccurate and, to a certain extent, naive. First, Alciviades was not finally dismissed because of his failures, since he had no military failures! He was dismissed, because his less capable political opponents prevailed and because the fickle Athenian hadn't forgiven his betrayal. Alciviades is one of the few generals of ancient Athens, who was never defeated! Secondly, he betrayed his city under special circumstances (faulse and defamating prosecution against him), which are not referred. And, third, when he returned to Athens, he was reelected as a general-dictator and not as a mere general. I express my intention to correct these inaccuracies, in due time, when I'll have the adequate time.--Yannismarou 17:59, 4 May 2006 (UTC)


Um, didn't the persian war end in 479? (Battle of Platea?) Also, Pericles came to power when his political faction came to power in 461. (Info from World History, a textbook from Duiker/Spielvogel) —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 05:50, 26 December 2007 (UTC)


is the reference to Pericles playing banjo a joke? It seems that there has been a couple of times when the page was edited with silly additions like baseball player etc. From the date at which those changes were made (17th of April) can we safely assume the 'banjo' may also be taken as an act of vandalism? --Lapin Finland (talk) 03:01, 24 April 2009 (UTC)

Pericles started the goldeen age —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 21:51, 16 November 2009 (UTC)

A Few Problems[edit]

There are a few problems with this article. Firstly, describing fifth century Athens as a golden age, or even using the milder phrase "age of pericles," is a value judgement, and an outdated one at that. It reflects the scholarly consensus of a generation of classicists that has all but passed. "Fifth Century Athens" would be a much better title, since it's more descriptive and doesn't carry the same value judgment that "golden age" and "age of pericles" carry. Secondly, the article has no citations. This simply will not do. Athens in the fifth century is a fascinating topic and certainly warrants its own article; the scholarly literature on the subject presents an embarrassment of riches to the interested student. I would like to make the changes for which I have argued, and I will do so, barring any objection. Thank you for reading. Long live the internets. ZoomaBaresAll (talk) 03:18, 30 October 2010 (UTC)

I have not received any feedback on the revisions I have made thus far, so I will continue to make them until someone objects. Let me also say that I do think that this article is worthwhile (i.e., not redundant), but it does need a lot of work. There are a number of anachronisms that run counter to the NPOV policy, for example calling Socrates "chief" among Athenian philosophers. While Socrates has certainly enjoyed a pre-eminent reputation in the years since his untimely death, scholars today do not universally agree that he was "better" than his contemporary Greek philosophers, often dismissively called "pre-socratics." Whether one thinks he is or isn't the best is beside the point; it's a value judgment that violates NPOV. ZoomaBaresAll (talk) 02:58, 13 December 2010 (UTC)
This page still uses the term Golden Age a number of times (some capped, some not). I'm not a Classical scholar, but it's problematic to use this term metaphorically when there is a defined Greek Golden Age, the first of the Ages of Man, and is the origin of the phrase golden age. (talk) 18:37, 16 April 2013 (UTC)


This page contains both BCE and CE as well as BC and AD. Which should be used in order to maintain consistency for this page?

Were Thetes officially allowed to serve in Boule?[edit] says that the restriction that thetes could not serve in the Boule was never "officially changed" but "fell out of practice". However, this page says that "One of (Pericles's) most popular reforms was to allow thetes (Athenians without wealth) to occupy public office," implying that the restriction was officially changed. Which is it? I've also asked this on Bayle Shanks (talk) 19:40, 11 February 2015 (UTC)

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