The Golden Age ( Athens ) Essay, Research Paper
A & # 8220 ; Golden Age & # 8221 ; for Athens? The fifth century BCE was a period of great development in Ancient Greece, and specifically in Athens. The development of so many cultural accomplishments within Athens and the Athenian Empire has led bookmans to hold this period a & # 8220 ; Golden Age. & # 8221 ; It is true that his period had many accomplishments, but in the visible radiation of the Athenians intervention of adult females, metics ( non-Athenians life in Athens ) , and slaves it is given to oppugn whether or non the period can genuinely be called & # 8220 ; Golden. & # 8221 ; The fifth century and the Athenian Empire gave birth to an astonishing sum of achievements. One such achievement was the minting of standard Athenian coins that were used throughout the Athenian retentions as valid for trade. The usage of standard Athenian-minted coins helped the Athenians set up and keep control over their imperium by assisting to command trade and the economic system of the country to the Athenians & # 8217 ; benefit. Since Athens on a regular basis received testimonial from the provinces it controlled, Pericles, the leader of Athens, began a edifice undertaking in Athens that was legendary. Athinais had been sacked by the Persians during the Iranian Wars and Pericles set out to reconstruct the metropolis. The metropolis & # 8217 ; s walls had already been rebuilt right after the terminal of the 2nd Persian War so Pericles rebuilt temples, public evidences, and other impressive constructions. One of the most celebrated constructions to ensue from Pericles & # 8217 ; constructing undertaking was the Parthenon. The Parthenon and other such constructions re-established Athens & # 8217 ; s glorification and while some Athenians criticized the undertakings as excessively munificent, most Athenians enjoyed the benefits of the plan. A major benefit to the Athenian people was that there was an copiousness of work in the polis. The fifth century BCE was besides an of import clip for Athenian idea. & # 8220 ; Sophists, & # 8221 ; paid instructors, taught rhetoric amongst other topics to wealthy Athenian citizens. The Sophists were criticized by Athenians who thought that Sophists were destructing Grecian tradition by stressing rationalism over a belief in superstitious notion, nevertheless it was this rationalism that became so of import to Grecian philosophers such as Socrates and Plato, both who belonged to the fifth century BCE. The Sophists high respect for rhetoric was subsequently of great usage to citizen turn toing the Assembly in the developing Athenian democracy. Athenian democracy is possibly considered the coronating accomplishment of the fifth century BCE. Democracy grew out of the position that poorer Athenians were deriving as oarsmans for the ships of the big Athenian fleet. Since these poorer Athenians now played a big portion in the Athenian military, they ga8ined more say in the Athenian authorities. This led to a democratic authorities where & # 8220 ; every male citizen over 18 old ages was eligible to go to and vote in the Assembly, which made all the of import determinations of Athens in the fifth century BC_ & # 8221 ; ( Demand 223 ) . This democratic authorities is considered by some bookmans to demo the full enlightenment of the Athenians in the fifth century BCE. This glorious enlightenment seems someway less informative, nevertheless, when one views this period from other than a male Athenian & # 8217 ; s eyes. Athenian enlightenment and democracy was by and for male citizens. The underprivileged of Athens included adult females, metics and slaves. The place of Athenian married womans in Athenian society is clearly stated by Xenephon in his Oeconomicus. Ischomacus, a immature hubby, is discoursing with Socrates about the responsibilities of hubby and married woman. Ischomacus relates how he explained to his married woman that the responsibilities needed to back up a family consisted of
& # 8220 ; indoor & # 8221 ; and & # 8220 ; outdoor & # 8221 ; activities. He so explains to his married woman, & # 8220 ; And since labour and diligence are required both indoors and outdoo
rs_it seems to me that the god prepared the woman’s nature especially for indoor jobs and cares and the man’s nature for outdoor jobs and concerns.” (Spyridakis 206). This is the general attitude that Athenians held toward their wives. The Athenian wife was expected to marry and bring a dowry into her husband’s house. Although this dowry was attached to the woman, she was in no way allowed to control the lands and moneys she might bring to her husband.. Similarly, women were not allowed to vote or take any part in the Assembly, being seen as unfit for this privilege. The primary function of a citizen’s wife was to take care of domestic affairs and provide the citizen with an heir. Athenian wives were rarely seen outside of their houses, for respectable wives had at least one slave who would purchase needed items at market. Poorer Athenian women were seen at market because they lacked slaves to run their errands. Women were considered intellectual non-entities and were treated as such in the Athenian Empire. Metics also had a low status in Athenian society. Metics were not allowed voting privileges in the Athenian democracy, but were compulsed to serve a specified time in the Athenian military and were taxed by the Athenians. Metics usually were lower-class tradesmen or craftsmen. Although some metics families eventually gained wealth, the vast majority of the metics remained second-class inhabitants of Athens, even though they performed some of the polis’ most activities, such as military service and trade. Slavery was also matter-of-fact in 5th century Athenian life. Slaves were the property of specific owners and subject to the wishes of their owners. Like women and metics, slaves had no citizenship rights. It was possible for a slave to save enough money to buy his freedom, but a freed slave had only as much status as a metic. Aristotle defended slavery as necessary and a law of nature, saying in his Politics, “That some should rule and others should be ruled is not only necessary but expedient; indeed, from the very moment of birth some are set apart to obey and others to command.” (Spyridakis 62) and also stating that, “He is by nature a slave who is capable of belonging to another (and therefore does belong to another) and who has access to reason in that he senses it and understands it but does not possess it.” (Spyridakis 63). Many Athenians viewed slavery as necessary to society in order to give a citizen more time to participate in government affairs and other matters that were viewed as more important than a slave’s work. Although some lower-class Athenians may have been forced to share labor with slaves, most Athenians did not participate in slave’s work. Male slaves did harder labor such as construction and agriculture. Female slaves ran their mistress’ errands and generally took care of domestic affairs under the watchful eye of their mistress. Slaves also acted as State scribes. In short, slaves did much of the work that allowed Athens to prosper in a period of “enlightenment.” In light of the unrecognized people who helped to build the foundations for the Athenian Empire, this “Golden Age” seem far less golden. However, many major accomplishments grew out of this period as well. Before one can or cannot place a “Golden Age” label on 5th century Athens, one must consider other times when the ends of man’s accomplishments may not have justified the means. Athens could be compared to post- Revolutionary America, where a “democratic” government was only available to white male citizens. Yet Americans tend to view this time with much patriotism and pride. Likewise the Industri 1996. Spyridakis, Stylianos V. and Bradley P. Nystrom, eds., trans. Ancient Greece: Documantary Perspectives. Dubuque: Kendall-Hunt, 1985.