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Pericles was a Greek statesman and general during the golden age of Athens. He is best
remembered for building a program centered on the Acropolis. Pericles is also known for a
funeral oration that he gave in the Peloponnesian war. Pericles was a patron of the arts and he
also continued to promote literature and philosophy up to his adulthood. It was mainly through
his efforts that Athens acquired the reputation of being the educational and cultural center of the
ancient Greek world. His masterful oratory skills helped him rise to the top of Athenian politics,
where he introduced government reforms.
Greek history may be divided into two parts to clarify the sequence of events and relate
them to education. The old Greek education covered the extended period from the indefinite
prehistoric era, known as the Heroic Age, to the Persian war’s end. The new education began
with the rise of Athenian supremacy resulting from the Persian wars and it was best formulated
by the period of transition, the age of Pericles. This transition saw the beginning of a new
philosophical trend and the formation of new educational practices. From the Macedonian
conquest until the Greek way of life was dissolved into the Roman culture, the new education
was still in evidence with the University of Athens as the differentiating characteristic.
The education of the Homeric Age was very primitive and the instruction was limited to
training by imitation. Stories of national heroes and customs were passed to the younger
generation through word of mouth. The training of this period was for the fundamental
necessities of basic living and survival was dependent on the physical preparedness of the
people. Physical activities such as running, swimming, and wrestling, which were taught to the
youth by their fathers, served as recreational purposes and military ones. The boys spent much
time competing in these exercises among themselves. High morals and physical fitness were
required in service to the tribe. On the other hand, the girls learned to manage the household and
act per approved standards of behavior strictly from their mothers’ instructions.
Pericles was the behind the Greek changes in the education system. He received the best
education during his time, which contributed to him influencing education during his reign as a
Hernández-Sánchez, Brizeida Raquel, José Carlos Sánchez-García, and Alexander Ward
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Xu, Mingyue. “Contradictory Shakespeare: An Investigation of Female Protagonists in
Othello, Measure for Measure, and Pericles.” (2019).