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ANCIENT AUTHORITIES

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Originally appearing in Volume V21, Page 147 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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ANCIENT AUTHORITIES.—Our chief source must always remain Thucydides (i. and ii. 1–65), whose insight into the character and ideals of Pericles places him far above all other authorities. The speeches which he puts into his mouth are of special value in disclosing to us Pericles' inmost thoughts and aspirations (i. 140–144; ii. 35–46; H. 6o–64). Thucydides alone shows sympathy with Pericles, though, as J. B. Bury points out (Ancient Greek Historians, 1909, pp. 133 seq.), he was by no means a blind admirer. Of other 5th-century sources, Aristophanes is obviously a caricaturist, pseudo-Xenophon (de republica Atheniensium) a mere party pamphleteer. Plato, while admiring Pericles' intellect, accuses him of pandering to the mob; Aristotle in his Politics and especially in the Constitution of Athens, which is valuable in that it gives the dates of Pericles' enactments as derived from an official document, accepts the same view. Plutarch (Pericles) gives many interesting details as to Pericles' personal bearing, home life, and patronage of art, literature and philosophy, derived in part from the old comic poets, Aristophanes, Cratinus, Eupolis, Hermippus, Plato and Teleclides; in part from the contemporary memoirs of Stesimbrotus and Ion of Chios. At the same time he reproduces their scandalous anecdotes in a quite uncritical spirit, and accepts unquestioningly the 4th-century tradition. He quotes Aristotle, Heraclides Ponticus, Aeschines Socraticus, Idomeneus of Lampsacus and Duris of Samos, and is also indebted through some Alexandrine intermediary to Ephorus and Theopompus. Diodorus (xi. and xii.), who copied Ephorus, contains nothing of value.
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