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Photographer's Note

This photo is taken just 9 minutes before my Acropolis Panorama photo. Around this time of day, the so called "blue" hour, you can see the most rapid, almost dramatic light changes. The title of the photo comes from the "Golden Age" of Athens, also known as the Age of Pericles. Although the "holy rock" of the Acropolis was inhabited even from the prehistoric years, it reached the peak of its "fame" and "glamour" during that period. It was not only the period that Democracy took its best form during the ancient times but also a great era for the arts.

*Some general info about the Age of Pericles found in Wikipedia:

"The Age of Pericles is the term used to denote the historical period in Ancient Greece lasting roughly from the end of the Persian Wars in 448 BC to either the death of Pericles 429 BC or the end of the Peloponnesian War in 404 BC. Pericles — an Athenian general, politician and orator — distinguished himself above the other shining personalities of the era, men who excelled in politics, philosophy, architecture, sculpture, history, and literature. He fostered arts and literature and gave to Athens a splendor which would never return throughout its history. He executed a large number of public works projects and improved the life of the citizens. Hence, this important figure gave his name to the Athenian Golden Age.

During this century, Athens was governed by 10 strategoi (or generals) who were elected each year by the 10 clans of citizens. These strategoi had duties which included planning military expeditions, receiving envoys of other states and directing political affairs. During the time of the ascendancy of Ephialtes as leader of the democratic faction, Pericles was his deputy. When Ephialtes was assassinated by personal enemies, Pericles stepped in and was elected strategos in 445 BC, a post he held continuously until his death in 429 BC, always by election of the Athenian Assembly.

Pericles was a great orator; this quality brought him great success in the Assembly, presenting his vision of politics. One of his most popular reforms was to allow thetes (Athenians without wealth) to occupy public office. Another success of his administration was the creation of the misthophoria (μισθοφορία, which literally means paid function), a special salary for the citizens that attended the Assembly. This way, these citizens were able to completely dedicate themselves to public service without facing financial hardship. With this system, Pericles succeeded in keeping the Assembly full of members, and in giving the people experience in public life. As Athens' ruler, he made the city the first and most important polis of the Greek world, acquiring a resplendent culture and democratic institutions.

The sovereign people governed themselves, without intermediaries, deciding the matters of state in the Assembly. The Athenian citizens were free and only owed obedience to their laws and respect to their gods. They achieved equality of speech in the Assembly: the word of a poor person was the same worth as that of a rich person. The censorial classes did not disappear, but their power was more limited; they shared the fiscal and military offices but they did not have the power of distributing privileges.

The principle of equality granted to all citizens had the danger of constituting a fraud, since many of them were incapable of exercising political rights due to their extreme poverty or ignorance. To avoid this, the Athenian democracy applied itself to the task of helping the poorest in this manner:

Concession of salaries for public functionaries.
To seek for and supply work to the poor.
To grant lands to dispossessed villagers.
Public assistance for invalids, orphans and indigents.
Other social helps.
These norms should have been carried out in great measure since the testimony has come to us (among others) from the Greek historian Thucydides (c. 460 – 400 BC), who comments: Everyone who is capable of serving the city meets no impediment, neither poverty, nor civic condition …"

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Additional Photos by Hercules Milas (Cretense) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 5327 W: 74 N: 16998] (68709)
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