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Highlights of Ancient Greek History: 507 BCE to 429 BCE

In 507 BCE, the return of Cleisthenes to Athens marked the birth of democracy in Athens. This new concept to the people meant that each free man was granted one vote regarding every matter of importance. In this article, you will also learn more about the changes that ancient Greek sculpture underwent, as well as the importance of Pericles.

~ 500 BCE: Sparta becomes dominant about the Peloponnese region of southern Greece.

~ 500 BCE: Greek sculpture starts to flourish with the help of Phidias and Myron.

Phidias played an important role in progressing the sculpture movement in ancient Greece. He was not only a sculptor, but also a painter and architect. However, the best recognized of his works is the Statue of Zeus at Olympia, which would later become one of the Seven Wonder of the Ancient World. Other statues that Phidias designed include the goddess Athena on the Athenian Acropolis, such as the Athena Promachos , a giant piece made out of bronze. Before the Peloponnesian War, Phidias was accused of embezzling gold intended for the statue of Athena inside the Parthenon. A false witness was found and Phidias was sent to prison where he stayed until his death.  

Myron was an Athenian sculptor that made quite an impact on the art. Bronze was the artist’s choice of material when making sculptures. His subjects include statues of gods and heroes, but he was best known for his representations of athletes. It was noted by others of his time that he had a gift for paying attention to detail. His most famous works include a dog, Perseus, a satyr, heifer, Minerva (or Athena), and Hercules, which had been taken to the shrine dedicated Pompey the Great at the Circus Maximus.

493 to 429 BCE: Pericles rules Athens.

Pericles was a statesman with great prominence and influence during what was known as the Golden Age of Athens. He was also a noted orator and general of ancient Greece. The ruler truly rose to the occasion at a time where the Persian and Peloponnesian wars were taking place. Once again, another member of the Alcmaeonid family had taken the reigns of power through bloodlines , this time it was his mother who was tied to the powerful lineage. He worked on solidifying the reforms that Cleistenes brought on.

The influence of Pericles on Athenian society was so great that Thycydides (his contemporary historian) called him the “the first citizen of Athens.” One of the things that Pericles accomplished was transforming the Delian League into an Athenian empire. He also led his countrymen during the first two years of the Peloponnesian War. Pericles ruled Athens found around 461 to 429 BC , a time often referred to as the “Age of Pericles.”

During his reign, Pericles encouraged the arts and literature. He played a significant part in progressing the city to the point where they were known for being a center for education and culture in ancient Greek history. He is also responsible for constructing some of the most well-known of surviving landmarks in the country. Because of him, the Acropolis became home to the Parthenon. His architectural projects made the city beautiful and also displayed the glory of the Athenians. The people of the land also had work.