(bc. 495 bc; d Athens, 429 bc).
Athenian statesman. He was the son of Xanthippos and Agariste, niece of Kimon, and was the leading political figure of his generation. Though an aristocrat by birth, he appears to have courted the people in the Assembly. He is credited with persuading the Athenians to move the Treasury of the Delian League to Athens and convincing the people that this money should be used for lavish rebuilding of the temples on the Acropolis destroyed by the Persians. It was apparently said that he advocated ‘tarting up the city with thousand-talent temples’ (Plutarch: Pericles xii); his friend Pheidias, who had worked on the cult statue of Athena for the most celebrated and ambitious of these, the Parthenon, was subsequently exiled. Pericles’ lasting attachment to the courtesan Aspasia also attracted considerable criticism. He was reputed to have had an onion shaped head and was thus usually shown wearing a helmet, as in a Roman bust (London, BM), possibly a copy of a portrait statue by ...