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Perikles (c. 495 BCE – c. 429 BCE), alternatively Pericles, was a Greek politician and general who led Athens in the early years of the Peloponnesian War.

Biography

Presiding over the Golden Age of Athens, a period where Athenian intellectual thought and democracy reached its peak, Perikles shouldered the burden of defending the city against Sparta when war between the two Hellenic powers erupted. Rather than facing them in direct battle, however, he had the military turtle within the city, much to the chagrin of its anxious populace.[1]

His strategy owed to his stoic and calculating nature, but his pragmatism was perceived by the besieged Athenians as apathetic. At the very root of his defensive policy, however, was his love for his partner Aspasia, a hetaera, and his desire to protect her and the city at all costs.[1]

In 429 BCE, Athens had devolved into a state of panic. With the war with Sparta increasing tension and a lethal plague spreading throughout the streets. Perikles felt his grasp of the city weakening, and this worried him greatly. With his own health declining, he realized his death was on the horizon and began to worry as his warmongering rival Kleon had the best opportunity for power with his death. After a brief meeting with the misthios Kassandra, Perikles left for the Parthenon where he was attacked and murdered by the enforcer of the Cult of Kosmos, Deimos.[2]

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