Many people ask was Pericles a good leader? This is a question that was asked by many who lived during this time period. Pericles was not only an excellent general, but also an astute politician and statesman. He was the mastermind behind the Delian League and his leadership skills were displayed in all areas of life. The Athenians knew he was their best hope for survival and they followed him without hesitation.
Pericles was an Athenian commander during the Peloponnesian War, and he was in command of the city’s reconstruction after it had ended. Pericles died of plague, which struck Athens at that time. During the Peloponnesian War, Pericles served as the general for approximately 100 ships.
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The people of Athens began blaming Pericles for having compelled them to go to war when several soldiers died from the war and plague, and they wanted him to be held responsible for all of their sorrows and misfortunes. Pericles also felt guilty about the problem, but he was determined to face it head-on. The outstanding features of Pericles were extolled during his funeral oration, which he was required to deliver as a matter of custom at funerals in Athens; speeches were given as a way of honoring and praising the deceased in Athens. In the funeral oration for those who perished in the Peloponnesian War, Pericles, the son of Xanthippus, was chosen to speak about them and it is in this speech that some of Pericles’ outstanding qualities are brought forth (Thucydides 35).
Astute Leader and a Commander
He was a gifted leader and commander in life. Despite the difficulties that his nation and city were experiencing, he still convinced them that the strategy was correct, and he maintained that it served the interests of the whole state and metropolis. He justified himself by stating that he knew what needed to be done, and he referred to himself as someone who loved his city and could not be bought.
Despite his little authority, he emerged as a man of knowledge from what he said. His words and speeches suggested that he was a powerful leader. Pericles, as a courageous and respected General, called the city’s assembly to instill determination in them and revitalize their fighting spirit before going into battle against Sparta. According to him, Athens’ freedom could only be purchased through bloodshed and labor (Thucydides 44). He was unwilling to be influenced by enthusiasm or people’s demands; instead, he came across as someone who led others.
Pericles, in comparison to Callicrates, was more likely to face danger head on rather than flee from it. He did so, for example, when he urged his countrymen to be prepared for all types of calamities. Pericles was willing to engage in combat in order to preserve the reputation of Athens. He was a formidable opponent. Despite losing the battle, Pericles successfully convinced his people that they had prevailed. He was happier enduring hatred and unpopularity as long as his gaze remained fixed on the goal.
Pericles was known for his foresight in planning ahead, which is why he advised the Athenians to “contemplate hatred and unpopularity as temporary, while contemplating glory and splendor in the future that would come after their victory” (Thucydides 60). He was recognized for his dedication to defending his country. Pericles was regarded as someone who fought darkness with light and had the will to fight back against it. Despite the risks and damage it might do to their private lives, he had the zeal to serve people of Athens. Pericles was one of those people who attacked evil with good and fought tirelessly for the benefit of his fellow citizens.
Strong Oratory Skills
Pericles’ oratorical talents made him a compelling leader; he had the courage to express himself, the charisma to lead others, and the skill to persuade and manipulate his people. When the populace vented their frustrations with fate, he gave them an address that revived their spirit, will, and confidence to fight.
His oratorical abilities enhanced his persuasiveness, which was largely due to his use of rationality, logic, and facts. It was through his speeches that he developed the ability to effectively capture people’s attention and offer reasons for why the war with the Spartans was just. Pericles was a demagogue and an aristocrat with a powerful voice. Pericles took advantage of his excellent speaking abilities, as well as his ability to sway opinions, to obtain support for his goals and objectives. His rich descriptive language silenced every other friend and foe (Thucydides 34).
Pericles’ patriotic character enabled him to lead the Athenians effectively. According to him, defending or establishing the Athenian empire was a noble obligation that citizens should be willing to give up their lives for, whether it meant going to war or not. For Pericles, the glory of Athens was essential. His behavior revealed how dedicated he was to his city. In his funeral oration, Pericles praised several aspects of Athens and shone a light on them.
Pericles was a masterful orator, one who had an exceptional command of language and who excelled at intricate political debate. He made this speech about the Athenians’ obligation to put their own interests aside in order for the city to prosper. This line of reasoning clearly displayed Pericles’ patriotic convictions. He came out as a prominent political representative, on several occasions stressing the people of Athens’ spirit during his argument that the defeat from war was not anticipated and that they should not abandon their homes.
He praised the Athenian people’s nature and way of life, while also boosting their morale in his funeral oration speech. His patriotism was evident during his burial oration when he extolled the citizens of Athens, the city of Athens, the dead, and Athens’ military training and democratic ideals.
His mention of the “city’s power” and his use of the metaphors “barking dog” and “howl for battle” were interpreted by many as a veiled threat to Athens if it did not submit. As a result, people began calling out that he was using such language as a pretext for actual warfare (Thucydides 62).
Pericles also had faith in himself; he trusted that hope would provide him with success and failure, and he continued to trust in his bravery and efforts as the reality of war set in. He thought it more honorable to fight and risk death than to surrender and preserve one’s life. Pericles was so brave that he was not afraid to confront the enemy, so he gathered together people from all around Athens in order to defend the city against becoming greater than it was. People who were indifferent irritated him greatly.
He appealed to the people not to be angry with him, but rather for him to be given the chance to lead them out of their present distress. He felt that with all of Athens’s strength, it was important that he remained in command. People began believing in him at the end of the conflict because Athens emerged victorious (Thucydides 65).
Pericles was embarrassed by his inability to live up to expectations. He showed a lot of enthusiasm for defending the city, and he offered his all for the war effort. For the benefit of the city and other people of Athens, he gave his life. His loud self-praise made him an unquestionable leader in the community.
The people of Athens accused him of taking advantage of their enthusiasm for conflict, and his attitude that he was not punishable for persuasion to war relieved him of many complaints. His contention that he could not be charged with misconduct merely by influencing the people to go to war displayed a sense on his part of vanity arrogance. He just wanted the citizens of Athens to believe in and accept the actual state they were in, and he advised them to do so by claiming that he was superior than average in patriotism, knowledge, and explanation talents.
But how could individuals be persuaded, especially if they were uneducated? According to him, it was because of these three qualities that the Athenians were able to succumb. His method of self-praise intended for people not to hold him responsible for the choices he was entrusted with achieving some degree of shared responsibility. As a result, Pericles maintained some degree of personal consistency when he stated that he would continue to hold his previous view until his plans were complete or executed. He urged the citizens to follow in the footsteps of individuals like himself (Thucydides 64).
Barack Obama and many other inspirational individuals now have characteristics of leadership that impact a large number of people. Gandhi, Martin Luther King Jr., and Rosa Parks were all leaders several years ago. Alexander the Great, Ramses the Great, and Hammurabi were notable leaders in Ancient Greece. The fact that they all influenced their communities and revolutionized the world is one thing these leaders had in common. Pericles belongs to this tremendous category as well.
Leader of Greece’s Golden Age, Pericles revolutionized Athens, its government, and its population. Pericles’ life was by far one of the most illustrious. He was born in 495 B on a farm near Piraeus (present-day Athens). He was bright, serious, and physically “perfect,” according to Hamish 18. As his position in Athenian politics improved, so did his influence over the city’s people.
“Pericles was the statesman and strategos (general) under whose reign Athens achieved political and cultural dominance over other Greek city-states,” according to Alan and Phillips. His reputation, however, came to an end somewhat early. Pericles contracted the plague in 429 B.C.E., survived for approximately one year, and died shortly after.
Pericles, unlike some other Athenians, was born into a wealthy aristocracy family. When he grew older, Pericles’ father, Xanthippus, was an important statesman and prominent figure in Athens (Hamish 18). His mother, Agariste, was a housewife who nevertheless assisted Pericles in achieving success by teaching him sophisticated ideas about life.
Xanthippus and Agariste had a significant impact on Pericles, as you can see. Not only were his parents important influences on Pericles, but so were his instructors. From designing the Parthenon to enticing the Athenians with his amazing mind and talents, Pericles was a game-changing leader in Ancient Greece.
Pericles (495-429 BC) was a prominent politician and general in Athens. He is credited with establishing the Golden Age of Athens, which is regarded as an important period in Athenian history when he focused on various areas such as art, which gave Athens its reputation as the cultural and educational center of Ancient Greece, and architecture, where he oversaw the construction of projects to improve the city’s appearance while also providing work for Athenians employing most of their output like the Parthenon still existing today to serve as an example of Athens’ glory.
He was a significant actor in the development of drama, as well as democracy and the Greek empire. Pericles reaffirmed the notion that democracy allows all citizens to participate in state governance. This is why he made it a point to play a significant part in exiling Cimon, who was seen as a tyrant. Others may contest that Pericles’ real aim was to ensure that he gained power in conjunction with his main opponent, but I think he did it not in order to take control of the city but rather in order to enhance Athenian citizens’ voice.
As a result, he established himself as a great political leader because he was able to eliminate the many difficulties of dictatorship and oligarchy, such as corruption, which was further emphasized by one of his ancient admirers, Thucydides who observed, ‘he kept himself free from taint through greed though he was not completely uninterested in money.’ He ‘surpassed all his fellow citizens in the art of delivery’ (Diodorus Siculus) The skill of oratory has been an uncommon talent that very few individuals have been able to master.
Pericles’ oratory has had a significant impact on several of history’s most prominent figures, including Pericles himself. Abraham Lincoln, the noted speaker who delivered the Gettysburg Address, was inspired by Pericles’ magnificent funeral oration during the American Civil War, which led many to believe that one of the greatest modern speakers took inspiration from Pericles.
The great oratory abilities of a renowned Athenian statesman are demonstrated by this movement alone. Thucydides, who was once again effusive in his praise for the famous Athenian, was asked by Archidamus of Sparta if Pericles or he was the better fighter. Without hesitation, Thucydides replied that Pericles was superior and explained it by noting that even when he lost, he succeeded in convincing the crowd that he had won.
The following extract demonstrates how he was able to persuade and influence the Athenians, despite claims that he was manipulative and defeated the idea of democracy. His speaking talents, which were able to elicit precisely the same emotions as those felt by the Athenian people, were nonetheless condemned by individuals like Ion, a poet: Pericles had an arrogant and somewhat big-headed style of talking; into his pride there entered a lot of contempt and dislike for others.
This is highly debatable because we are supposed to believe a person who claims Pericles had significant disrespect and hatred for others, the same man who put the actual Athenian people first and ensured that they were heard in how their home state was ruled. I believe Ion’s statement about Pericles should be dismissed as utter nonsense, along with his ranting, simply because of this one observation alone. Plutarch discusses the oddity of Agariste’s (Pericles’ mother) birth in his criticism of Pericles .
‘She, in her dreams, once thought she had given birth to a lion, and shortly after gave birth to Pericles,’ he says. I do not consider this is an actual criticism of him since, while a lion may be a hazardous creature, its ancient significance as a sign of greatness should be taken into account. Other animal symbols for the lion include strength, bravery, power, royalty , authority, dominion , justice , wisdom , and fury , all of which I feel are attributes demonstrated by Pericles in his political and military careers.
The lion was an important symbol in ancient Greece, representing the guardian of the home and Pericles really demonstrated that in his military campaigns to defend his beloved city of Athens. There is also a dispute over whether Pericles was simply a leader or if he truly changed. Plutarch wrote that ‘he had no longer the same man as before, nor was he like a rudder guided by the winds.’
The claims that Pericles led the Athenians to their victory, as Plutarch implies, are entirely false. The story continues that he simply turned the city into a mess in order for them to do whatever they pleased, which is affirmed by others who claim he made the Athenians idle, talkative and avaricious (Plato). However , considering his speeches and oratorical abilities, this motion would have to be rejected. Thucydides correctly represented Pericles’ leadership style by claiming that ‘Pericles was not carried away by the people, but rather held them in control.’
His magnificent oratory and his capacity to elicit a specific reaction from the Athenian people, as stated in the previous paragraph, is evidence that he provided them with an excellent alternative by serving more as a sort of “guardian” for the city’s people and guiding them to make mostly good decisions like removing Cimon.
Pericles, for more than 20 years, has been in the military. He was a renowned naval commander who led numerous missions. He was a wise and cautious military leader who never sent his men on to hopeless grounds with the prospect of them being killed or running back to Athens with their tails between their legs unless he felt it was necessary. This made him an excellent military leader because he did not just send forth his troops when the odds were stacked against them in order for them to be slain or run away screaming into Athenian territory with their tails between their legs.
He avoided the high risk of defeat and instead made well-thought out choices in every engagement, thus there are no major criticisms of his Periclean Grand Strategy, which sought to preserve rather than expand the empire. However, as his successors changed everything and lacked the military capabilities and character that made it work under Pericles, this strategy could not be completed. The legacy of Pericles cannot be overstated, since much of it remains today.
One of the world’s most famous leaders is one of them. The concept of democracy inherent in all free states today and used as a measure of a nation’s justice and fairness is one such example. His most visible legacy, however, is seen in the artistic and literary works produced during the Golden Age and on the Acropolis, which are still standing despite being ruins; they serve as a reminder for modern Athens and a memory of an extraordinary individual who once walked those very streets.
I believe Pericles was a brilliant leader in both politics and the military, and I also agree with the theory that his talents in both areas led to the famed bust statue of him having a helmet sitting on top of his head to show the two equally talented faces of the great leader that is Pericles. In The Dark Knight (2008), Harvey Dent famously tells Batman, “You either die a hero or live long enough to see yourself become the villain.”
I believe it was the latter, because there’s no proof that he committed any great crimes to deserve such punishment, but even if his tale with the Athenians came to an end badly, I think he still is one of Ancient History’s finest leaders, and even if he wasn’t perfect, who is? , and despite having a few flaws and bad qualities, he still ensured that Athens played a significant role in history.