Quotes about Pericles
16 Sourced Quotes
There is a connection, hard to explain logically but easy to feel, between achievement in public life and progress in the arts. The age of Pericles was also the age of Phidias. The age of Lorenzo de Medici was also the age of Leonardo da Vinci. The age of Elizabeth was also the age of Shakespeare. And the New Frontier for which I campaign in public life, can also be a New Frontier for American art.
Pericles' words are echoed in other critical speeches of later Western history... Lincoln at Gettysburg... Churchill's... repeated promise to the British people... of "blood, toil, tears, and sweat." And no wonder, for both orator's knew their Thucydides and knew this speech [Funeral Oration over the Athenian dead in the first year of the Peloponnesian War].... the most obvious later parallel is the 1961 presidential address of John F. Kennedy.... When he told of the sacrifices yet to come, like Pericles he pulled no punches.... In neither case is there a confession of atheism, just an implied acknowledgement that a politician is no oracle and has no business speaking on behalf of heaven.
He [Pericles] reduced the power of the Council of the Areopagus, a group of feeble old men who held their jobs for life and whose duty it was to declare everything null and void… [Footnote:] He also revoked their right to censor the private lives of the citizens. This was nasty of Pericles, for about the only pleasure the old fellows had was catching some citizen doing what he shouldn't. After that, they had to use their imaginations.
Pericles immediately banished his strongest rival, Cimon, who had achieved popularity by bringing the bones of Theseus, slayer of the Minotaur, back to Athens from the island of Scyros. As Theseus was a myth, he could hardly have had any bones. Nevertheless, Cimon brought them back.
First of all, modern propaganda is based on scientific analyses of psychology and sociology. Step by step, the propagandist builds his techniques on the basis of his knowledge of man, his tendencies, his desires, his needs, his psychic mechanisms, his conditioning — and as much on social psychology as on depth psychology. He shapes his procedures on the basis of our knowledge of groups and their laws of formation and dissolution, of mass influences, and of environmental limitations. Without the scientific research of modern psychology and sociology there would be no propaganda, or rather we still would be in the primitive stages of propaganda that existed in the time of Pericles or Augustus.
We could send down a combination of Pericles and Thomas Jefferson, and if that person's reporting to Harry Reid [Senate Majority Leader] or Mitch McConnell [Senate Minority Leader], he's going to be ineffective. … Every vote is a test vote. Every vote is party loyalty. We're sunk if it keeps up this way. … It wouldn't take but four or five centrists like me to completely change the dynamics.
Pericles was the people's friend. [Footnote: The very poorest citizens had a chance to become President, but somehow they didn't. It may have been just a coincidence.] He was so fond of the people that he paid them to go to the Assembly and vote, and they were so fond of him that they elected him year after year.
I envy those old Greek bathers, into whose hands were delivered Pericles, and Alcibiades, and the perfect models of Phidias. They had daily before their eyes the highest types of Beauty which the world has ever produced; for of all things that are beautiful, the human body is the crown.