Alcmeonid(es) family: From Megacles to Pericles
Democracy would be soon a reality for Athenians. After Cleisthenes was appointed as an Archon, he changed the structure of the 139 demes (municipalities), into three groups called trittyes (thirds), with only ten demes divided among Attica new three peripheries: asty (the city), paralia (coastline) and the rest mesogeia. Today paralia is the word used to call the beach in Greek and Mesogeion is the main avenue connection Athens to Marathon. Consequently, Athenian trade was growing and expanding to the other side of the Aegean, and here is where the conflict that ended to the Persian invasion of Greece begins.
Persians in Greece
Athenians had helped Ionian revolution (in modern day Turkey) betwee 499-494 BC. In 498 BC, supported by troops from Athens and Eretria, the allied to Athens Ionians marched on, captured, and burnt the city of Sardis. Six years later, in 492 BC, the first Persian invasion of Greece, the next phase of the Greco-Persian Wars, began as a direct consequence of the Ionian Revolt.
The son of Peisistratus Hippias leads Persian army to Marathon bay, where they face Athenian army. In 490 Athens defeat Persians with Miltiades and Themistocles as two of the ten military Generals. Athens (and for some even the western civilization) was saved because of that decisive victory. Athens expands more and moves to its glorious period of Pericles, who was just five years old. Themistocles soon takes power providing the support for building Athens navy. In 480 BC Persians return and destroy Acropolis, while Athenians had abandoned the city by sea to nearby ally Saronikos city, Troizina.
Notwithstanding in 480 BC Salamis battle was won and Themistocles gained respect from all Greeks. Persians leave Greece next year, after a fatal battle facing united Greek army in Plataies.
Themistocles knew that soon the war with Sparta will follow so he decided Athens to built the Long Walls, connecting the city with Piraeus, a defense system that protected Athens until the final defeat in 404 BC. Themistocles died in exile, but his grave is found today in Piraeus. After that victory, Athenians expanded their trade gradually, that is shown in Pericles – Thucydides funeral oration at the first year of the Peloponnesian War in Ceramicos. A war that destroyed Greek city –states concept and democracy. But how Greeks got there?
Era of Pericles and Parthenon
Socrates was born in 470, ten years after Salamis battle. At that time, another member of Alcmeonid family, Pericles, a friend of Protagoras, Zeno of Elea and Anaxagoras, was becoming Athens most notable person.
Pericles in 472 he presented the Persians of Aeschylus, demonstrating his wealth. He probably took high position in 460, after eliminating politically in 461 BC his opponent Cimon using ostracism. The accusation was that Cimon betrayed his city by aiding Sparta, at the same year that Pericles mentor Ephialtes was murdered. Pericles remained in power until his death in 429 BC while in 428 Plato was born.
Nevertheless, Pericles led Athens to the future of its end… he built Parthenon and Acropolis, but also led the city and Greece to Peloponnesian war. Many say that Pericles era was also the fall of democracy, but his death two years after the War was the moment when actually Athens started to lose its power.
Moreover, historian Pausanias (c. 150 AD) records seeing the tomb of Pericles along a road near the Academy. Nobody knows where today and probably its somewhere under the Gazi- Votanikos area.