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Ancient Greek History and Contemporary Social Science$
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Mirko Canevaro, Andrew Erskine, Benjamin Gray, and Josiah Ober

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9781474421775

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: January 2019

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9781474421775.001.0001

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Understanding the Politics of Pericles around 450 BCE: The Benefits of an Economic Perspective

Understanding the Politics of Pericles around 450 BCE: The Benefits of an Economic Perspective

Chapter:
(p.269) 9 Understanding the Politics of Pericles around 450 BCE: The Benefits of an Economic Perspective
Source:
Ancient Greek History and Contemporary Social Science
Author(s):

Carl Hampus Lyttkens

Henrik Gerding

Publisher:
Edinburgh University Press
DOI:10.3366/edinburgh/9781474421775.003.0010

Perikles is usually seen as a great statesman and clever leader of the Athenians. In the mid fifth century BC, he seems however to have been in serious political trouble and may well have been in danger of losing the political struggle against his opponent Kimon. The fact that his incentives changed considerably at this point in time seems to have escaped attention in the literature. In contrast, we see Pericles’ rational responses to fierce competition as a motivation, which exerted its influence alongside several other motivating factors, for several important policy measures introduced by Perikles at this particular time: the pay to jurors, the new law on citizenship (which has been a puzzle to many historians), and the building projects on the Acropolis and elsewhere. An economic rational-actor approach thus provides a diachronic analytical benefit by focusing on the way incentives change over time and it provides a synchronic benefit by dealing with various decisions in a common framework.

Keywords:   Pericles, Athenian citizenship law, Economics

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