The Golden Age
Like a flower in bloom, fifth century Attica is said to be the prime time of ancient civilizations. Much praise is given to the period, and it is coined to be the Golden Age of ancient western history. It is claimed that the Athenians of this time period were very successful in many areas, being “originators of democracy…art, history, philosophy, and science.” (Discovering 54) Comparatively I support the claim for Attica’s golden status because it was the most successful city state of its time: with a democratic government, military superiority, and free philosophical thought.
The government of Attica was historically the first ever democracy, pioneering ideas of equality ...view middle of the document...
Class mobility was a reality in Attica, and no person was kept down or permanently disadvantaged because of their social standing. It is clear that Attica was revolutionary, with laws on the books providing citizens with a say in their government and class mobility a very possible reality.
None could compare with the military strength and merciful practices of Attica.
Upon besieging the isle of Melos, the Athenians gave a proclamation to the Melians. The offer was one of peace, with the rationale being that the Melians “would have the advantage of submitting before suffering the worst, and we should gain by not destroying you.”(Discovering 62) With the island of Melos being a vulnerable point that Attica’s enemies could easily take advantage of, it would have been dangerous for the Athenians to let the Melian’s remain neutral. Attica offered for Melos to become a “tributary ally, without ceasing to enjoy the country that belongs to [the Melians]”, and to place Melos under the protection of “the greatest city in Hellas.” (Discovering 63) Peacekeeping and guardianship were tools of the Athenian military: they were not solely focused on outward and merciless conquest. Additionally as stated by Pericles, “we throw open our city to the world, and never by alien acts exclude foreigners from any opportunity of learning or observing.” (Discovering 60) This policy of openness, while other powers surely guarded their secrets, set Attica apart as a force of might that only sought fighting after all other options had been exhausted. The military of Attica was most powerful, as well as tolerant.
Pioneers of western...