The golden age
At certain times, in certain parts of the world, civilization seems to reach unusual heights and men to accomplish great things. One such period was the golden age of Greece, which lasted roughly from 500 to 429 BC.
What was the golden age?
Early in the fifth century, the Persians invaded Greece, but the greeks arose and pushed them out. The people of Athens led this fight. Because of this, Athens became the richest and most powerful state in Greece.
Athens built a fleet of ships that was larger than the combined fleets of all the rest of Greece. Wealth began to flow into Athens, some of it as tribute from other states, some from commerce, and some from silver mines.
The population of Athens increased by four times. With all these new people, power, and prosperity, the arts in Athens flourished as never before in history.
It was the age of pericles, named after the wise Athenian leader. During this period, construction was begun on the Parthenon, one of the most beautiful and famous buildings in the world. Among the men who lived in Athens at this time were Phidias, the great sculptor; Socrates, the teacher; and Sophocles and Euripides, the playwrights who write some of the greatest dramas in history.
Everybody was encouraged to help make Athens more beautiful, and many masterpieces were created. Also, because there was so much wealth and power, men had a great deal of leisure. The citizens of Athens had more intellectual and cultural interests than any other society before or since.
The golden age of Greece created treasures and masterpieces and works of art that have had an influence on the whole world, even to this day. Later on in the fifth century BC, fighting began between Athens and Sparta and their allies. Athenian culture began to decline and the golden age ended.