Athens ' Age of Glory - Our Lady of the Wayside
Transcript Athens ' Age of Glory - Our Lady of the Wayside
Athens' Age of Glory
Ancient Greece, Lesson 3
If Athenians living in 500 BC could somehow
have traveled 65 years into the future, they
would have been amazed by what they saw. In
the city’s harbor many ships would be tied at a
long dock leading straight to a huge trading
area. People could buy a wide range of goods,
from Egyptian papyrus to Italian cheese, with
coins from Athens or Persia. Walking up the road
to the city– now surrounded by walls– they
would have seen grand stone temples were far
simpler ones had once stood. Athens, clearly,
How the Success of Athens
• The city-states of Greece went to war against
Persia. Athens created a mighty naval fleet
and they joined forces with Sparta and other
city-states. Together, they beat the Persians.
• Other city-states that were still facing the
danger of Persia would pay the Athenians for
the protection of their navy. This money aided
the improvement of Athens.
• Around 460 BC, Athens had a rich culture.
Some refer to this time as the “Golden Age”.
GOLDEN AGE OF ATHENS
A Walk through Athens
• The religious center of
Athens was the
Acropolis. Yes, many
acropolises, but this was
THE Acropolis and much
larger than the others.
• Atop the Acropolis, were
many buildings to show
the city’s wealth and
• They had a temple in the
center for Athena. This
temple is known as the
Activity in the Agora
• Whether it was for the market or the
government, shopkeepers, students, and
lawyers were always heading to the agora for
• A monument served as the city’s “bulletin
board” in one corner of the agora. Here,
people posted messages or upcoming news
or matters to be voted on.
• People would travel to the agora for many
things: buying, selling, studying, passing
through, gathering and leaving information,
• A small council of powerful citizens
made all of the city’s important
decisions when Athens first began.
• Later in time, the council’s powers had
been taken over by an assembly of
citizens. They voted on issues that
helped shape the future of Athens.
– Assembly- a lawmaking body of a
A Great Statesman
“Our city is called a democracy because it is
governed by the many, not the few…. No one,
moreover, if he has it in him to do some good for the
city, is barred because of poverty or humble origins.”
- Pericles, an Athenian leader
• Pericles made sure poor and rich citizens
could take part in government.
• Citizens not only served on the assembly, but
also sat on juries.
– Jury- a group of citizens chosen to hear evidence
and make decisions in a court of law.
• All citizens could be a part of the assembly
and jury, which were paid positions.
Philosophy in Athens
Philosophy- the search for wisdom and the right way
• Plato was one
• Socrates lived in the middle of the 400’s BC.
• He taught his students philosophy.
• They talked about what makes the best
• He wrote down
all of Socrates’
kind of government or citizen.
• He began questioning Athenian values,
• Plato would one
which upset the Athenians.
day become a
• He was “urging Athens’ young people to
revolt”, so the Athenian jury decided to
have him sentenced to death.
ANCIENT GREEK COLUMNS
WAR & CONFLICT
War & Conflict
• Sparta and other Greek city-states became jealous of
the power and wealth during Athens’ Golden Age, so it
did not last.
• The jealous city-states formed the Peloponnesian
• This caused the Peloponnesian Wars.
– Peloponnesian Wars- A war fought between Athens and
Sparta in the 400 BC.
Battles on Land and Sea
• The war began with an attack on Athens from the Spartans.
• The Spartan army was much stronger than the Athenian army,
so Pericles had all Athenians move inside the city walls, which
protected the city.
• The Athenians’ farmland was destroyed by the Spartan military.
Luckily, they controlled the Aegean Sea, which allowed them
to receive grain from other areas.
• Because the Athenians’ had a navy, they won most of the
battles at sea, while the Spartans
won most of the battles on land.
• During the war, a terrible disease
swept through Athens killing 1/3 of
its population– Pericles included
Yet, the war continued.
A Final Blow
• In 404 BC, Sparta cut off the Athenian
grain supply from the Black Sea.
• This caused the Athenians to starve,
which resulted in them surrendering.
• All of Greece suffered many losses
from the Peloponnesian Wars.
“War is a violent teacher.” -Thucydides
The End of a Golden Age
• After the Peloponnesian War, Sparta
was the leading polis in Greece. Yet,
their victory was short lived.
• No city-state was able to maintain
control for long over the next 50 years,
due to others challenging it.
• These unsettled times would leave
Greece open to threats from a new
power to the North.
• In the 400s BC, during their “Golden
Age”, Athenians discussed philosophy,
wrote plays, and built many grand
• Though democracy was still limited to
male citizens, Pericles worked to give
poorer citizens a voice in Athenian
• The Peloponnesian Wars ended the
“Golden Age” of Athens. Afterward no
single polis dominated Greece.