The Greek Legacy of Akhenaton and Pericles
Pericles came to power in 462 BC. He proposed new laws for the extension of democracy to the people, while limiting citizenship status to select individuals. He advanced the power of a collective assembly and also secured for Athens primacy in its own sphere of influence. Unlike Akhenaton, Pericles created an imperial democracy that also enjoyed a period of peace after decades of turmoil and military conflict and also eliminated the endemic tensions between Sparta and Athens. After Pericles' death, however, a renewal of conflict diminished his achievements.

Sparta and Athens were the two dominant city-states of the Mediterranean world in the first centuries before the birth of Christ. The two city-states were regular, if not constant, rivals for hegemonic control of the region and its smaller (and weaker) rivals. Early in their mutual history, Athens achieved primacy through the use of military power and the creation of an imperial empire. Later, when the Peloponnesian Wars erupted in 432 BC, Sparta ultimately prevailed over Athens and achieved hegemonic control over the region.

If Athens was a state in which philosophy and the arts were valued, Sparta was its opposite. Run as an essentially militaristic entity, Sparta had a mixed rather than a largely democratic constitution 9as did Athens). The Spartans also had a governing ass

 
 
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