Significance of Pericles' Death

1270 WordsJun 21, 20186 Pages
Significance of Pericles' Death The death of Pericles was a significant event in the course of the Peloponnesian War; however, even without Pericles' leadership the Athenian Assembly had countless opportunities to prevent their loss and chose not to take them. The fickleness and inefficiency of democracy ('the mob') allowed the Athenians to be easily influenced and therefore electing populists such as Cleon, Lysicles and Hyperbolus into dominant leadership roles. Election, via democratic means, of such populists, meant that the Athenians would take a much more aggressive approach to the war and therefore abandon the policies that Pericles had previously established. So in turn, democracy the institution for which the Athenians fought…show more content…
The fact that Alcibiades, one of the three commanders, was recalled for committing sacrilegious activities, worsened their predicament, and deprived the Athenian military of the one leader who could have possibly brought success. These factors greatly influenced the outcome of the expedition and even after substantial losses had occurred, the Assembly continued to refuse Nicias' request for withdrawal. Instead, the Athenians sent major reinforcements to Sicily, and suffered a massive defeat at the hands of the Peloponnesians. This then left Athens exposed and substantially defenceless, remaining in this somewhat unfavourable position for sometime. The role of Alcibiades throughout the expedition, and the remainder of the war, was extremely important, if not vital to the final outcome of the conflict, proving to be a determining factor of the Athenians' fate. Brought up from a similar background to that of his uncle, Alcibiades was an extremely ambitious and inconsistent leader, becoming a dominant factor in the downfall of Athens. His ambitious and self-interested nature is truly displayed by the statement that "Oligarchy and democracy were all one to Alcibiades...and what he was really after was to...come back to Athens" (Ibid). Through "The power of Alcibiades influence..." (Ibid) and "...his desire to hold the
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