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The Age of Pericles uses the career of the leading Athenian politician and general from c. 450-429 B.C. as a prism through which to view this brief but remarkable era, and to ask why that echo has persisted for so long. In the generation that followed Pericles's appearance on the public stage shortly after the Persian wars, Athens rapidly transformed the alliance of Greek states-an alliance first created as a defense against the Persians-into a true Aegean empire, dominated by the Athenians and their mighty navy. But this dramatic increase in military power, cultural influence, and prestige was also accompanied by something unique: the growth of full participatory democracy. This course examines the daily workings of that democracy and the whole of Athenian culture, including: how Athenians were trained for citizenship what Athenian democracy actually meant in practice the profound role of religion in Athenian life.
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