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The scene was 5th century BC Athens in ancient Greece The Athenians had just defeated the Persians in an impressive defense of their great city An overwhelming sense of pride and victory permeated the minds of every loyal citizen Cultural and political achievements had reached new heights Pericles a fiery orator and elected statesman had proposed a massive resurrection of the Athenian temples long since destroyed by the Persian invaders Perhaps the crowning achievement of his new building program was the Parthenon the temple to be dedicated to commemorate the greatness of the patron goddess of Athens Athena Finished in 432 BC the Parthenon represented much for the people of Athens In the work Pericles Plutarch explains that the best materials artists and laborers were called upon from the entire region to take part in the massive project Stone bronze ivory gold and other precious and expensive materials were used Pheidias one of the greatest artists of his time and a friend of Pericles became the artistic director of the building program while the best carpenters bronze-smiths stonecutters leather-workers rope-makers and many other professionals all gathered in Athens to add their own expertise Nothing was spared in order to fully represent the vision Pericles and his artistic friends had for the Parthenon and its surrounding buildings Of course such a project was expensive and Pericles spent money of the Athenian government in large sums to pay for it Much of this money in fact came from Athens allies in the Persian war Because of this there were those who objected including Pericles political rival Thucydides who as Plutarch explains kept denouncing Pericles for playing fast and loose with the public moneys and annihilating the revenues Plutarch Pericles Lives pg 47 However when Pericles threatened to make the inscriptions of dedication of the buildings in his own name only Thucydides quickly rescinded his complaints and bade him take freely from the public funds for his outlays
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