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A Sourcebook and Reader

Stephen V. Tracy (Author)


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Pericles, Greece's greatest statesman and the leader of its Golden Age, created the Parthenon and championed democracy in Athens and beyond. Centuries of praise have endowed him with the powers of a demigod, but what did his friends, associates, and fellow citizens think of him? In Pericles: A Sourcebook and Reader, Stephen V. Tracy visits the fifth century B.C. to find out. Tracy compiles and translates the scattered, elusive primary sources relating to Pericles. He brings Athens's political atmosphere to life with archaeological evidence and the accounts of those close to Pericles, including Thucydides, Aristophanes, Herodotus, Protagoras, Sophocles, Lysias, Xenophon, Plato, and Plutarch. Readers will discover Pericles as a formidable politician, a persuasive and inspiring orator, and a man full of human contradictions.
List of Passages Translated xi
List of Illustrations xv
Abbreviations and Primary Sources xvii
Preface xxi

A Brief History of Athens in the Fifth Century 1
Chronology 8
The Life of Pericles 14

the primary sources
Pericles’ Writings 27

The Archaeological Evidence
Inscriptions and Ostraca 32
Portrait Busts 35
The Building Program on the Acropolis 40

Thucydides’ Portrait of Pericles I:
Prelude to War 45

Thucydides’ Portrait of Pericles II:
The First Campaign and the Funeral Oration 61

Thucydides’ Portrait of Pericles III:
Plague, Last Speech, and Final Tribute 79

Aristophanes and Old Comedy: Caricature and Personal Attack 96
Herodotus 109
Protagoras 116

Sophocles’ Oedipus: In the Image of Pericles
Lysias, Xenophon, and Plato
Plutarch and the Biographical Tradition
Afterword: The Legend of Pericles
Appendix: The Dryden Translation of Plutarch’s
Life of Pericles
Recommended Reading
Stephen V. Tracy is Visiting Scholar at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, Professor Emeritus at Ohio State University and Professor and Director Emeritus at the American School of Classical Studies in Athens. He is the author of several books, including Athens and Macedon: Attic Letter-Cutters of 300 to 229 B.C. (UC Press); Athenian Democracy in Transition: Attic Letter-Cutters of 340 to 290 B.C. (UC Press); and The Story of the Odyssey.
“Easily readable and thoroughly engaging.”—New England Classical Journal
“Tracy has produced a useful short introduction to the sparse sources on Pericles and some of the modern interpretations of his career and personality.—Susan Downie Mouseion
“Pericles was first citizen at Athens when tragedy, comedy, architecture, rhetoric, philosophy, historiography, graphic arts, democracy, and empire were taking on forms that one way or another shape analogous undertakings today. Steven Tracy, whose wit and eyesight have enabled students to differentiate the hands of the Athenian cutters who inscribed laws and decrees in stone, provides a tight focus on this iconic yet curiously incorporeal figure. In so doing he gives us an illuminating view of one of mankind's most brilliant generations.”—Alan L. Boegehold, author of When A Gesture Was Expected

“Tracy's Pericles: A Sourcebook and Reader neatly arranges the collected extant sources for Pericles' life and public career, and provides an insightful and stimulating commentary directed towards undergraduates; it will help teachers convey to their students the complexities of the man's life and of Periclean Athens. This important contribution will become a standard resource in undergraduate courses on the period.”—Michael D. Dixon, University of Southern Indiana

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