Wikipedia:Today's featured article/September 18, 2006

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Bust of Pericles

Pericles was a prominent and influential statesman, orator, and general of Athens in the city's Golden Age (specifically, between the Persian and Peloponnesian wars). He was descended, through his mother, from the Alcmaeonid family. Pericles had such a profound influence on Athenian society that Thucydides, his contemporary historian, acclaimed him as "the first citizen of Athens". Pericles turned the Delian League into an Athenian empire and led his countrymen during the first two years of the Peloponnesian War. The period during which he led Athens, roughly from 461 BC to 429 BC, is sometimes known as the "Age of Pericles", though the period thus denoted can include times as early as the Persian Wars, or as late as the next century. Pericles promoted the arts and literature; this was a chief reason Athens holds the reputation of being the educational and cultural centre of the ancient Greek world. He started an ambitious project that built most of the surviving structures on the Acropolis (including the Parthenon). This program beautified the city, exhibited its glory, and gave work to the people. Furthermore, Pericles fostered the Athenian democracy, to such an extent that critics call him a populist. (more...)

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