In the 5th century BC., PERICLES was a very talented strategist and the most influential speaker in Athenian Democracy. His leadership was decisive for “The Greek miracle” : the greatest collective creativity in history. He worked to improve the institutions of the participative democracy invented by his great-uncle Cleisthenes. He tried as well to avoid the mistakes of demagogy and anarchy. He played a major role for Athens to become one of the most beautiful city at that time, with buildings such as the Parthenon. Hurried to neutralize the militaristic cities inspired by the rival Sparta and intoxicated by Athens leadership over a majority of Greek cities, he encouraged decisions that will lead to the “Peloponnesian War”. For 27 years, hundreds of Greek cities were engaged into an exhausting war, worsen by an epidemic which carried Pericles off at a time his abilities were particularly required. The major consequences were the end of participative democracy and the final crushing of Greek cities by Alexander the Great.
© Alice Labrèque and Jean Routier, 2013