GOLDEN AGE OF PERICLES – WHY IT WAS CALLED GOLDEN AGE??
Pericles (in Greek his mane come from the words Peri + kleos which mean “surrounded by glory”, about 495-429 BC) was a Greek politician. Orator and strategist of 5th century BC, know as the “Golden Age”. And more specifically the period between the Persian Wars and the Peloponnesian War. The power, glory and fame that he gave in Ancient Athens, fully justify the designation of “Golden Age”. The season in which he owed in the political life of ancient Athens. (sovereignty in the area of today’s Athens: Zografos, Nea Ionia, Pallini, Halandri, Holargos. Ilion, Kamatero, Petroupoli, Marousi, Aharnai, Kifissia, Ano Liosia. Aspropyrgos, Palaio Faliro, Glyfada, Mandra, Eleusina, Ilioupoli. Argiroupoli, Koropi, Paiania, Gerakas, Egalaio, Sepolia, Kolonos, Ampelokipi. Vrilissia, Melissia, Peuki, Lamia, Patra, Peristeri, Peiraias, etc.) i.e. between 461 BC and 429 BC. Called today the “Golden Age”.
Pericles took advantage of Greek’s victory against Persian forces and the rise of naval power of Athens. In order to convert the Delian League in “Athenian hegemony”. Leading his town in the greatest prosperity in the history of period of 14 consecutive years that he was elected for the rank of General. In military level the expansionist and military operations. That he conducted during his sovereignty had main objective to safeguard the interests of Athens. He conducted these operations with powerful Athenian navy’s aid. Which started strengthens during Themistocles and Kimon ages. But it was at the time of Pericles that reached in the absolute prime. Being the key driver of the Athenian superpower.
ACROPOLI’ S RECONSTRUCTION
Acropoli’s reconstruction began in 447 BC, after Pericle’s suggestion. Who personally encouraged his fellow citizens. To the most ambitious building project of classical antiquity. Only for the construction of the Parthenon, it took much gold and wealth 5000 talents in the first year of construction of the temple. Which’s construction was supervised by Pericles. The Pentelic marble which was used for the construction
of the Parthenon. And generally Acropolis in Athens, caused future reactions from other cities of Delian league.
Some of them were: Limnos, Megara, Kassos, Nisyros, Mikonos, Samos. Lesvos, Chalkida, Neapoli, Thassos, Naxos, Sparta, Delos, Thira Santorini. Argos, Heraklion, Chania, Andros, Kimolos, Rodos, Kalamata, Korinthos. Tripoli, Agrinio, Mesologi, Aigio, Preveza, Giannena, Igoumenitsa, Arta, Farsala. Trikala, Larisa, Zagora, Agia, Volos, Patra, Lamia, Larnaka, Lemesos, leukosia, Pafos. Rethimno, Peiraias, Peraia, Katerini, Amorgos, Pylos. Amfissa, Rodos, Nauplio, etc.
Ironically, construction works of excellent artistic beauty. Like Parthenon and the gold and ivory statue of Athena, led to the loosing of the Athenian hegemony. Parthenon was built with 20.000 tons of marble from Penteli. And its duration construction lasted 15 years.
The ore mines of Lavrion (identifiable even today in region of Lavrio, keratea, Saronida, Anavyssos) were source of silver which contributed to the development Of Athenian democracy and the construction of
monuments of Golden Age of Pericles. And the production of silver coin of Athens “Laureotiki’s owl” (the owl that still reflected in Greek euros). Was also used for the construction of 200 ships which defeated
Persians at Salamina in 480 BC. But many ancient Greek cities and many leaders based their power on the exploitation of mines for silver and gold.
From the exploitation of silver in Laurio, Athenians built among other 200 triremes and crashed along with other Greeks the Persian fleet in Salamina. In this ore mine lead was mined. Which also contained a small quantity of silver. This was the main source of funding for projects in Athens during the “Golden age”. At the victory of Athenians over the Persians in the naval battle of Salamina. The mines gave 750 talents per year which allowed them to build 200 triremes.
Twelve thousands of slaves estimated worked in Laurio during the period of prosperity. Generally metalworking were made by slaves. Some of whom were specialists and therefore, too expensive.
Concerning the sources of marble, as mentioned above, the Pentelic marble was mined and during the “golden Age” of Pericles (Athens, 5th century BC). Providing thousands of cubic meters of material which built most of architectural and sculptural masterpieces of classical period. From the Acropolis to the statues and monuments of classical Hellenic and Roman times.
Pericles was a leader of Athens until the first two years of the Peloponnesian War. Until in 429 BC died due to a famine that stuck the city of Athens.