Life During the Age of Pericles , the Golden Age

In ancient Greek times, the Golden Age represents an historical period that was dominated by the achievements and success of Pericles, an Athenian general, politician and orator that rose above his peers to become one of the most popular figures of his time. In this article, you will learn about the lifestyles that ancient Greeks enjoyed during this prosperous time in Greece.

The Golden Age is estimated to have lasted from the end of the Persian Wars in 448 BC to the death of Pericles in 429 BC. In some circles, historians may debate that the end of the Peloponnesian War in 404 BC marked the end of the Golden Age. Pericles was at the center of it all, during a time when politics, philosophy, history, and literature was highly regarded. Because of him, the arts and literature flourished. Athens quickly became known as a leader in prosperity regarding the arts , an honor that the city would never enjoy again.

Being an Athenian in the Age of Pericles

Athenians were known for living quite modestly and without a great deal of luxuries. At the time, the economy relied on maritime pursuits. Agriculture was also a significant part of living in Athens, but the harvests did not generate enough food to satisfy the entire population, so Athenians looked towards imported provisions to survive. Artisans also made a decent living, providing unique goods for residents and people who came to visit the city.   

Ancient Athenian Celebrations

When it came to major religious festivals, it was the state that was in charge of the celebrations. A key festival during ancient Athenian times was the Panathenaia, which paid homage to the goddess Athena. This ritual procession took place one time per year in May, as well as once every four years in July. During the celebration, a new veil was presented to the aging wooden statue of Athena Poliada. To get a better picture of the procession, the British Museum owns a frieze of the Parthenon , a work of art created by an artist named Phidias.

The July Panathenaia (often referred to as the “Great Panathenaia”) was a time of entertaining competitions that included people riding on the backs of horses and the showcasing of gymnastic talents. If you won one of these competitions, you were presented with a ceramic vase containing sacred olive oil as your reward. Another celebration that was rather important at the time was devoted to the god Dionysus, the god of wine.  

In the article titled,” Life During the Age of Pericles , the Arts,” you will encounter details on the ancient Athenian way of writing and creating great masterpieces, such as sculptures and literary works.